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Modernism

in

Religion

BY
J.

MACBRIDE STERRETT,
souls'

D.D., Litt.D.,
D. C.

EMERITUS PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY IN THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY; FOUNDER AND NOW ASSOCIATE RECTOR OF ALL

MEMORIAL CHURCH, WASHINGTON,

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY


1922
AH
rights reserved

FEINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OP AMERICA

57

CJOPTRIOHT, 1922,

Bt THE MAOMILLAN COMPANY


Set up and printed.

Published April,

1922.

J. Little

PrH of & Ives Company New Ywk, U. S. A.

Works by the Same Author

Freedom and Authoritt

in

Religion

Studies in Hegel's Philosophy of Religion

The Ethics of Hegel


The Freedom of Authoritt

MODERNISM IN RELIGION

To The

REV. H. H. D. STERRETT
Rector of All Souls' Parish

Washington, D.

C.

a loyal son and a younger brother in the ministry of reconciliation

AND
TO THE DEVOTED MEMBERS OP

OUR

COMMON FLOCK

484263

PREFACE
'^ork
hand He nor commends, nor
of his

grieves Pleads for itself the fact; As unrepenting nature leaves

Her

every act/^

these lines of

Emerson would

suffice

for a preface. But have to PERSONALLY v^ritten Ithis book. consider whom I have

those for

before giving it the personal touch. I overcame this hesitation for two reasons (1) it is largely a personal confession of a spiritual pilgrimage to a haven
:

I hesitated

much

not storm tossed with doubt; (2) I believe that the practical purpose of the book will thereby be best sei^ved.
that
is

a convinced modernist in religion. I have been through all the doubts and difficulties that assail the modern mind as regards conventional types of institutional I
Christianity.

am

I see

how

man

of

modem
in some

culture

may

frankly and earnestly worship

in any form rather than in none, authoritative religion if he cares to forward the Kingdom of God on earth, which was the master passion of the Master.

God

form of an

who do not. Very many of the university and college-bred men and women are floundering in a state of doubt raised by the results of the new
But
there are multitudes

'

learning and the twentieth century world-view. This has brought them to the stage of enlightenment as regards conventional forms. Too often it leaves them in the stage
of clearing these out,

and without that appreciative


vu

his-

viii

PEEFACE

might enable them to make a synthesis between the new and the old. I have written chiefly with such in mind, both those who are alienated from any church and those who are silently protesting conformists within one. The alienation of the laboring class from the church is much greater in this country though less than in
torical spirit that

England.

I regret that I

am

not fitted to deal with this


flocked about Jesus

more vital question. That class had the Gospel preached to it.

and
it

It does not flock to our

churches, or even to the fine chapels built to segregate from the churches of the other classes.

year ago I preached a sermon on the


see Jesus," touching

text, "Sir,

we

on the protean forms of Jesus as seen by the Evangelists, the Epistolists, the early Fathers and those of medieval and Reformation times. Some wanted me to publish it Nay, I said, I would sooner write a book and that I would never do again. Then many old intellectual and religious friends urged the task upon me. They argued that my ten years work as a professor of ethics and Christian evidences in a theological seminary, and my seventeen years of university work as a professor of philosophy had given me some fitness to do just this work. Finally it got on my conscience. On Sunday,
October 15th, the tenth anniversary of the founding of All
Souls' parish, I said a temporary vale to active parish work for three months while I wrote the book. Ten years before

would

I had locked the door of

and opened the door of active work of the ministry again, a work which has been such a blessed and soul-saving work for me. But now I should follow the dictate of conscience and unlock the door
of
study, or rather take a bit of it into the closet and there make another book. So I "Cast the bantling on

my my

study, buried my manuscripts closet for preparation for the

my

the rocks."

PEEFACE
I

ix

But I am still incurably I meet many cultured people who are likewise religious. so. But they do not find how they can nourish their religion in what seems to them to be outworn forms, what

am

a convinced modernist.

though the

"Hound of Heaven

still

follows with unhurrying chase,

And

unperturbed pace,

Deliberate speed, majestic instancy."

These people need help.


are also incurably intellectual. So am I. I live as an heir of the intellectual fruitage of many ages. We all live in the intellectual atmosphere of the twentieth

But they

century. accept the twentieth century world-view, ensee with twentieth cenriched by those of other ages.

We

We

tury eyes and only somewhat darkly with the eyes of other centuries. Some are tempted to cast into the sea all the older visions of the Christ and dogmas about him

as obsolete for them, as is nearly the whole of the old materia medica to the modem physician. That they may

well cast into the sea and, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "Be none the worse off; only it might be worse for the
fishes."

But we cannot do this with the materia medica for souls. At our peril only could we do so foolish a thing.
This would be as foolish as for one to unhouse himself before a new house was ready or to cut the umbilical cord that binds to some mother church or to attempt to form a new church and creed and cult, which would soon have all the faults of the old one. We should be thankful heirs of all the ages before we can be the slaves of none. God here and now for us, largely because of God there and then, Praisers of the present, we should be at least sympathetic appraisers of the past, though never mere lauda;

X
tores temporis acti.

PEEFACE
We
must build on the old Gospel

foundations and largely with the materials of past ages. We must have the historical spirit, and the sense of the
organic continuity of developing institutions as forms of nurturing and propagating the idea, the kernel which the

husks enshrine.

This we shall see characterized the late

modernists in the Church of Rome, as it the Church of England. Modernists are not destructive critics.

now

does those in
at the

They aim

adaptation of the old to the modern religious needs. The old has always grown. But it grows too slowly now. It has always been so. Institutions are always, and that

Radicalism without something conrightly, conservative. The mere twentieth censerved is vain and destructive.
tury man is as provincial as a mere tenth or sixteenth matricide is fully as unholy as the concentury man. servative Herods and rulers of the Jews. Jesus came not

to destroy but to fulfil. But honest criticism of the

ways

of mother church is
:

not matricidal.

To

recur to the personal note

As

profes-

sor of apologetics, I began very much as Tyrrell says he did as a conservative, battling fiercely against all attacks on the present forms of Christianity. I slaughtered

the exponents of the higher criticism. When I got through, I found that I had learned much from the enemy. Fas est ah hoste doceri. I found

Strauss and

Renan and

that

with them all was vitiated by special pleading, that blurs honest vision. I was ready to exclaim with evidences of Christianity, I am weary Coleridge, ".

my

fight

Apologetics on the old lines of proof from prophecy and miracle, like that of the hard church type of ^'believe or be damned," came to seem like an imperof the word."
tinence.

subject needed a new orientation, which would include aU that one learned from honest

The whole

PEEFACE
critics

xi

and opponents.

At

all

the old evidences of Chris-

tianity the cultured

man

an interrogation point.

of to-day shrugs his mind into The whole thing must be evaluated

differently, if not within the church then church if it comes to this without

and woe

to the

Well, we are asked what are modernists going to do about it? What is their base line? Their base line is
that of the necessity and value of the church. Their is to help modernists who are within and the many

aim

who

now

are outside the church, and also to help the church to help them. They are aiming to get a modus vivendi, or, rather an entente cordiale, not merely a diplomatic but a
vital

one between the old church and modernists

who

are honestly compelled to accept the results of critical study of Christian history and the Bible.

modern

I write as a clergyman of the Protestant Episcopal Church, thankful and appreciative of her as the best mother for me as long as she remains a Protestant

Church and does not yield official authority into the hands of quite a large and much protesting body of Romanizers

now
title.

in her fold.

Church of

They America and

short time ago one of these clerical brethren approached me on the golf links and said, "You are a priest of the Church, are you not?" "No," I said. Shortly I

protest that she is the Catholic are laboring thus to change her

added, "I

Church." the term (sacerdos) but a priest in the Prayer Book sense of the term, where priest is but presbyter writ short. I sometimes thank God that I was born and bred, till early manhood, in the Presbyterian Church. I think that apart from the devout religious training it gave me, it has, throughout my fifty years' service in the ministry of our church, saved me from a too provincial attitude towards

a presbyter of the Protestant Episcopal I meant that I was not a priest in his sense of

am

xii

PKEFACE
There
is

other churches.

often a certain sort of conde-

scension in our attitude towards our sister churches, which the late Bishop Greer characterized as "Snobbishness de-

rived from the attitude of the Anglican church to all nonconformist churches." That was the attitude of Anglicans

here in colonial days. In reporting to the Home Board in England, they wrote: "We are all good churchmen here; we maintain an offensive attitude towards them that are without." Such an attitude now, I fancy, is taken as amusing rather than offensive by those without. It took our church much time to overcome the bane of ecclesiastical
toryism. I love the Episcopal Church for reasons too numerous to mention and could not easily feel at home elsewhere.

I would do but

for the self-aggrandizement of the I do not like ecclesiasticism. official part of any church. On intellectual and ethical grounds I am a Christian myslittle
tic,

upon whom rest lightly many old forms that trouble others. The Episcopal Church has been stigmatized as
;

the easiest sort of a church

either politics or religion. as regards religion. It has been called the roomiest sort

as not troubling one much with That is a base slander, at least

of a church.

It holds

many men

of

many
:

minds, with

parties enough to form three or four churches a party that teaches and practices Komanism, minus only the Pope; and a party that is Protestant to the core; and a school,

rather than an organized party, known as the Broad churcb school. That is her glory, so long as she can hold them all
together without yielding complete dominance to any one of them. Perhaps it was because I saw it to be the room-

church that I entered its ministry fifty years ago. It affords freedom within elastic bounds. It affords freedom
iest

from many bonds.

If some are strangling in their own folds, I could frankly say, Come in, if you really think

PEEPACE
that
Grod, stay out.

xiii

you could do better service for the Master and his Kingdom. But if you look at it as the easiest, then, pray

have already our full share of idlers. An apology is due for my frequent reference to the Episcopal Church. I know more about her than I do about her sister Protestant churches. I am keenly interested in keeping her Protestant, till she can take another step forward and become The Modernist Episcopal Church, instead of crabbing backward to Eome. Besides being an appeal to modernists this book is meant to be an appeal to all the churches to recognize, retain and seek to gain modernists to give them a welcome as a much needed dynamic element in their ovtu ultra-conservative
;

We

life,

where mere traditionalism

is

a drag on vitality and

progress.
J.

Macbeide Steerett.

January 13th, 1922.

CONTENTS
PAGB
I.

In^troduction

II.

Modernism
Polity

20
38 47

III.

IV.

Doctrine

V.
VI.

A Personal Confession
What
Cult
Is

64
78

God Like ?

VII
VIII.

Modern Biblical Criticism

96

116

IX.* Modernism in the

Church of England

123 148

X.
XI.

Modernism in the Eoman Catholic Church

The Eoman Catholic and the Protestant


Conscience
160

XII.
XIII.

Father Tyrrell and Abbe Loisy


Conclusion

....

170
179

* Modernism in the Churches in America: See Appendix,

one who is a thankful heir of all the Christian ages, but feels that he should not be the slave of any one of them.
Christian modernist
is

"By identifying the new learning with heresy, you make orthodoxy synonymous with ignorance."

Erasmus.

"The old order changeth, yielding place to new. And God fulfils Himself in many ways Lest one good custom should corrupt the world."

Tennyson.

MODERNISM

IN

RELIGION
I

CHAPTER

INTRODUCTORY
term modernist may seem to be rather arrogant. It was at first used by some Jesuits as a term of reproach and later adopted by Pope Pius X, who defined modernism as "the synthesis of all heresies," and "the adversary of the church." However, the term Modernist is a good one to apply to men of modern culture, embracing, as it does, a knowledge and an appreciation of the cultures of other ages and religions. For the modemism of which we speak is distinctively a religious movement. On its intellectual side it is an attempt at a synOf thesis between the new learning and the old religion. course there are modernists who are not religious and who have little knowledge or appreciation of the culture of

THE

They are merely twentieth century men, with undue emphasis upon scientific knowledge. They live and
other ages.

think in a shut-in valley, ignorant that beyond the enclosing mountains of the twentieth century, there are other

and other ages and men. "Hinter dem Berge sind auch Leute/' But they are not embraced in the term modernism, as it has become technically applied to a religious movement. Modernists hold no brief for the superiority of merely
valleys

twentieth century culture.

Praisers of the present age


1

MODEROTSM IK

KELIGIO:tT

are apt to be just as purblind as praisers of the past. No more is something good or true because it is new, than that something is old and therefore neither good nor true. The

new form an organic process. Modernists do not propose to set up any one stage of this process as being true, when taken out of its connection with the others. They grant that in many ways the merely modern age is
old and

not as good as some ages past. Whether men of this age are morally, intellectually, religiously, esthetically or even

economically better than those of some other ages is an open question. Who would not sooner be a citizen of an old Greek city with good laws, than to be one of many of

our modern ring-ruled cities? Wlio would not prefer dwelling where he could look on works of classic art sit in the Academy and listen to Plato see the Greek plays and read the Greek poets; be a Greek cosmopolite, while also a country gentleman attending to his neighboring farms, and having about him men and women of culture, the latter clad simply but elegantly in flowing robes. What person of culture would not sooner dwell there than in the rush and whirl of a modem city with its jazz and scanty garb; with its vulgarities of architecture, and some other arts? Because we have such a heap of knowledge is no proof that we are more intellectual than the Greeks of old. Because we can travel eighty miles an hour by train, or two hundred miles by aeroplane, or, as most do in our cities,
;

forty miles an hour in frightful subways, is no proof that we are living well, or even as well as some of other ages.

With

all

our gains

we

suffer

many

losses.

Emerson has

put it all in a simile. We have invented the carriage, but have lost the use of our limbs. However, every epochal age has its modem spirit, its Zeitgeist, and its modem
world-view, destined, in turn, to become a traditional one. The Zeitgeist of any isolated age is only temporary, but

INTKODUCTOKY

there are certain dominant ideas in every such age, which become a sort of framework in which all experience is set

and which furnish the modern dialect in which it is exThese ideas form an enswathing atmosphere, pressed. which affects not only scholars but also the general public.

The

pessimistic
is

Progress

of St. Paul's says that "the myth of our form of apocalyptism," that is that the

Dean

golden age

is at

hand.

But

if

we

rightly define progress

as the process through which any organic thing advances from a less to a more completed state of itself; realizing more fully its real nature, as Aristotle would say as the

acorn does in

its

growth into the oak

then we must admit

that Progress is a wise conception for us to use in the study of any history. It will not always prove that the

thoughts of men are widened with the process of the suns. Neither does it lead us to doubt that "through the ages one increasing purpose runs." Pessimism dethrones God.

Fate or chance or the whirl of blind atoms in mechanical dance ascends the throne. What is a safe judgment as to man under the category of Progress? Has he not progressed from the conditions of his ancestor, the Pithecanthropos of the glacial period, and then in the more general Man has, at least, dropped the progress of the race.
Pithec, with which he was hyphenated many thousand It years ago. Progress stands as a good modern term.
takes a long look over a very large historical map to see Periods of decline, of the general progress of mankind. reversion to lower types, of deformations and rottenness

The pessimist fixes his are a part of the whole process. gaze on these and says "no progress." So too the kindred conception of Evolution is worth while using along with
modern conception of the unity and order of nature; so too the conception of the Divine immanence in the fields of nature and man. Then there is the modern conception
the
of Relativity in two senses, (1) that of the relativity of any

modeii:n^ism

i:^

eeligio:^

institution to the needs of the different ages through which it persists and (2) as being relative at any time, to the

whole process, forbidding the identification of any one stage with the ultimate form. Then in the study of institutions
torical

and

literatures there is

what

is

known

as the His-

method. Put yourself as far as you can at the point of view of those in any age that you are studying. See as far as possible with their eyes; get their general world-view. How did any institution or any body of laws or doctrines come about? What was the character, time, place and needs of the situation ? And what did they mean to those who formulated and to those who accepted them ? Their past forms are to be estimated by their contemporary situations and problems. Their solutions are to be recognized as upon the whole the best they could make and
the best for their times.

The

historical spirit is the heart

of this method.

See old forms of institutions, creeds, laws, as men of those ages saw them. Banish the spirit of envy and pride, appreciate their work and their vision. This An spirit does not live in the blindly conservative mind. English clergyman being asked his opinion of the Salvation Army replied "Could any one imagine the Apostles To this as officers in such a remarkable organization?'' it was aptly replied that one could as easily imagine the Apostles toiling in the slums of London as he could imagine them as Archbishops with their five and twenty thou:

sand pounds a year, their palaces, and their seats in the House of Lords. The historic sense enables one to imagine both of these positions. There is the broader, more divine conception of God's revelation in the past to children of all ages and climes
free study of other religions. There is the broadening knowledge of the complexity and greatness of the human soul reached by the New

that has

come with a large and

mTKODUCTOEY

Psychology. Then there are the inductive and the pragmatic methods the one of them as reaching, and the other as holding to certain positions. Whether the best methods

or not, they are methods that men are using in place of the a-priori method. Of all these dominant modem conceptions, I

venture to say a few words on the conception of the Divine immanence. That is an heritage from the Greek Fathers of the early church. They identified the

Jewish Messiah with the Greek Logos. It nearly all began with the Gospel of St. John. "In the beginning was the word" (Lo^os). All things were made by Him. They conceived the Logos as not only in man, but in all nature giving it unity, order and purpose. In spite of the overemphasis placed upon God's transcendence in the theology of Augustine, Aquinas and Calvin, there ever continued with some Christian thinkers the conception of the divine immanence. One throws off the intolerable nightmare, the incubus of the long regnant Augustinianism, when he uses the conception of the Divine immanence. It transforms all of one's theology. Really the two conceptions are but the two halves of one conception, divorced only in man's Transthoughts; two halves of one transcending whole. cendency has been so over emphasized as to exclude God from his creation, except by miraculous interference with its laws. It leaves one with an absentee Almighty on his throne in heaven. Immanency also has been so over emphasized as to confine Him within nature. But it is chiefly in nature that this conception is being used to-day. As men of science discover laws in nature, we say that they are reading God's thoughts after Him. There is no chance
question of interest here concerns the relation of these two conceptions. They are of the same nature
in nature.

The

and substance.
with

God above
There
is

does not work at cross purposes

God

below.

no need to resort

to

any vulgar

6
sort of

MODERmSM

IN

RELIGIOljq'

wonders to prove His continuous presence and acThe supernatural is present in the natural. There tivity. is no need to fear. Come what may in nature's way, if not interfered with by ignorant or wicked men, one will fear no evil, even when he walks through the valley of the shadow of death. Always the everlasting, the ever-present arms are underneath. God is immanent also in the experience of man, in all human history, in all institutions for man's uplift the same God who is also above. That is

that modernists conceive of nature, and of man in his ascent out from and above physical nature. Then as

the

way

to the conceptions of progress in history

periods of decline and of rottenness ; of stagnation and inefficiency ; of degeneracy and decay are clearly seen in the history of all hu:

man

institutions.

fain read the history of the church as one Df continuous development from its fontal origin, rather than

One would

one of continuous perversion from


the

its type.

The

latter is

way that Hamack and Sabatier and Francis A. ^ Henry seem to read it. They voice the crab cry, back to the primitive church. But we cannot thus de-modernize
ourselves or the church.

Back to Jesus, the font, the principle of our religion, we must surely go for inspiration and fruitfulness of our religious life. That is our primal That is the type with which we must religious heritage. always test any stage of the religious life. But backward
in polity, creed and cult
*I

we should

not go. These are hiswriters so far as they

am

in hearty

sympathy with

all these

But I cannot insist on going back to Jesus as the fountain of life. understand how it is possible to discard all the historical developments of Christianity in the lines of polity, doctrine and cult. The volume by Francis A. Henry on "Jesus and the Christian
Religion," really gets at the heart of the matter. But in considering Christianity as o ivay of life as Jesus' way of life he takes rather a pessimistic view of the historical developments of Christianity, as upon the whole, being perversions.

IIsTTEODUCTORY
torical acquisitions. the kernel. All that

These are the preservative husks for we can do is to see if they are func-

tioning well, at any given time. The kernel could not survive without its incarnation, its embodiment in form of

the vital thing. Back to Jesus for the kernel, then through the Christian centuries for the necessary serving and propagating husk of That is the way we read the history of embodiment.

an organization.

It,

of course,

is

Christianity. And when we do so, we shall not be pessimistic though our optimism may be greatly chastened. Progress is so slow.

"The mills of God grind slowly, Yet they grind exceeding small.'*
starting with a life-cell, trace its growth through the two factors of heredity and environment. Take the church of to-day with its past heritage in its twenBiologists,
tieth century environment. Environment is that in which And this, or rather adaptation to it, it lives in any age.

makes for growth.


to its

The church primarily adapted

herself

Jewish environment, though only for a short time. Then it adapted itself to its environment of Greek thought and culture; then to that of the Roman world; and then to that of Reformation times, and thus kept a living and a fruitful organism. If this age is really an epochal one, it is a fair question to ask how the church is adapting That it must do in herself to the present environment. order to continue a living, ministrant church to people of
this
age.

adapted to

Environment sustains when the organism is And this means change and greater effiit.

ciency in the heritage.


tion.

And

it is

merely mechanical adaptation.

not a question of any It is that of self-adapta-

MODERNISM IN RELIGION
:

I need not raise the question "What is the matter with the church to-day ?" That has heen raised long and widely and loudly. The press for the last five years has been prolific of books and articles on this topic. "What must the

church do to be saved?"

is

the title of one book

saved,

or so saved, I take it, as to make it a more efficient power for saving souls and for advancing God's Kingdom on
earth.
is

the church survive the changing order?'' the title of another volume. "Shall we stand by the

"Can

church ?"

"What

is

the matter with the church ?"

"Why
other

has Christianity failed?" volumes.

These are the

titles of

of another volume by a clergyman of the Episthe Rev. Dr. W. A. R. Goodwin is "The copal church Church Enchained." It is a passionate appeal to the
title

The

church to unloose the chains now binding the Christ within her chains forged by logic; chains of narrow definitions

and of exalted pride and ecclesiasticism iron chains of bigotry and golden chains of luxury. Such an enchained church is a church impotent. "The term churchman is not
;

always the synonym of Christian. The church may be writ large, and the Christ be but faintly inscribed in the
heart."

Read Church

the most piteous cry in the volume entitled "The in the Furnace," by seventeen church chaplains

in the late war.

ing cry of all failed, but that the church, as the chief propagandist of the Gospel of Jesus, has failed. Her failure has come

speak further on. The prevailthese voices is, not that Christianity has

Of

this I

largely from her swathing herself in the outgrown wrappings of ecclesiastical traditions which are obsolete for the

modern mind.

meet the needs of less educated people. What a great work is to be done here It is a far to enable her to be their helper and leader.

She has

failed also to

i:tTTKODUCTOEY

more important need than that of her meeting the religious needs of the more educated moderns. The late Bishop Franklin S. Spaulding published a sermon on the need of ^^Christianizing the Church" on this social and economic side. He was a fiery prophet of economic righteousness.

Pew

can forget his red-hot message at the time of the meeting of the General Convention in 1914. ^^We come to a General Convention of Capitalists. * * * The church,
if

be a real power in the twentieth century, must cease to be merely the almoner of the rich and become the
she
is to

champion of the poor."

Too early returned to heaven, a like mantle is still worn by another fiery prophet, the present Bishop of
Michigan, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Charles D. Williams, president of the Church League for Industrial Democracy. God bless his work. I only wish that I were fitted to take part in it. But the Christianizing of the church so as to make her ministrant to the religious life of the smaller class of well educated people is also imperative. These people are saying things like the following: "Dogmas that are obsolete and no longer nourishing" ; "the ruck of obsolete theories

about Jesus"
vation";

"canned goods"

"stereotyped plans of

sal-

"crystallized and petrified orthodoxies, now largely empty of meaning." The church must purge herself of all these, if she is to be ministrant to people of

found fault with for holding to a static conception of the church, instead of a dynamic one; for the spending so much labor on the work of self-preservation and self-aggrandizement; for the use of "creeds in
culture.
is

She

their literal rather than in their historic sense."

As

regards Jesus of Nazareth,

may

it

not be said that

dominant criticism to-day voices an impatience with the undue emphasis placed by the church upon conventional conceptions and dogmas about Him? She places in the

10

MODEROTSM

m religio:n"

forefront doctrines in the traditional language of other ages and demands that they be swallowed as they are,

however unpalatable and indigestible. Such are some common indictments made by hosts of modernists both within and without the church. I have received a letter from a high-minded and a highly cultivated gentleman who is a member of one of the
churches.

churches

conformists, protesting against traditional ecclesiastical and theological conceptions of Christ,

protesting

And

there are thousands like

him

in all the

and begging the church to give them the Christ of the Gospels and His living message, and that message interpreted in language "understanded by the people" of this He fails to get the craved moral and religious reage. action, when he attends church, because he does not feel en rapport with the forms and language in which the Gospel is presented in the church where he is a regular atIt does not appeal to him, and he craves to be appealed to. He loves and woi> ships the Master, but he sees His face much marred in the dogmatic forms in which He is presented in the churches.

tendant.

It all seems so obsolete.

Here

is

his letter.
is

of thinking men who in this day are not reached by our own or any other church. What is the reason? If it is a lack in our own church,

"There

a large

number

what
"It

is
is

that lack?

easy to draw an indictment of perhaps to prove most of them, but that we are looking for the constructive.

many
is

counts, destructive

and and

other day I chanced upon a statement of our difficulty, in one of the most talked of novels of the moment. That statement is
this:
it's

The

*The remedy's the old remedy. The old God. But more than that. It's light; more light. The old

revelation

was good for the old world, and suited

to the

INTEODUCTOKY

11

old world, and told in terms of the old world's understanding, mystical for ages, steeped in the mystical, poetic for minds receptive of nothing beyond story and allegory want a new revelation in terms of the and parable. want light, light.' Do new world's understanding.

We

We

you suppose an age that knows wireless and can fly is going to find spiritual sustenance in the food of an age that thought thunder was God's speaking ? ^'Sacerdotalism, medievalism, ritualism, an over insistence upon the words "the church," and even man-made
creeds are not the light that will lighten this generation. need ''What is that Light ? It is of course Christ.

We

not abandon what

beautiful in our beloved church, but for my own part I am ready to break the oldest and most beautiful stained glass window in any church if it dims
is

the Light that should shine out. As Bishop Williams said 'Let us not build in his memorable sermon at All Souls'

fences to shut out those

who would come

in.'

"Can't some one say the word that will help carry to
the intelligenzia of the day some knowledge of, and some belief in the Light, whom dusty, travel-stained, and tired Paul in Antioch preached to those who knew no God, but
so

wanted one that they raised an

altar to

him ?"

I should say that men of modem culture need the GosSouls rich in pel as much as do the less cultured people.
culture are worth saving as well as souls poor in culture. And the church needs them. She should have room for all
those

who

get them to traditional doctrines

are steeped in modern thought. But she cannot if she insists upon assent to belated conceptions ;

formed by men of a very different world-view. The modernist has a conscience in the matHe will not assent to what he does not think to be ter. true. He would only enter the church with head erect and It would be well for the with conscience unashamed.

12

MODEEmSM

IIST

RELIGIO:^'
of the traditional views

church to say frankly that

many

of Christianity are relative and admit of modifications and reinterpretations by the new learning.

Bishop Wilmer was once talking to a man about his becoming a member of the church. "But," said the man, "I can't swallow all of your creeds." Then, said the
Bishop, "there must be something wrong with your swallow." But no, I think these modernists might well answer

something wrong with the thing to be swallowed. It is too antique and bulky and indigestible. Modernists within the church can only swallow the creed whole by
there's

giving a symbolical interpretation to some of its clauses, which were formerly taken literally. Thus as to Christ's bodily ascension into heaven with flesh and bones, and His
sitting at the right hand of God, and the articles, "I believe in the resurrection of the body," body meaning flesh

and "he descended into hell." All these are now taken symbolically. Taken literally in the sense they had at first, they would indeed be hard to swallow. As Bishop Williams said "When I say the Apostles creed, for example, I may believe somewhat differently about God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost than the Christian Father
(

aap^

of the fourth century, or my Christian brother in the next pew. Creeds are symbols in the double sense of the word,

are flags to follow, not>. fences to keep our straying feet within the safe paths of orthodoxy. As such they are constantly to be reinterpreted, with the expanding enlightenment of the ages and the

not scientific statements.

They

^ growing experience of the individual believer." But when I present this view of the duty of reinterpreting old creeds through new conceptions, some men have
*

the Rt. Rev. Charles D. Williams, preached at the consecration on AH Souls' Memorial Church, Washington, D. C, October 25, 1914.

From a sermon by

INTKODUCTORY
said,

13
"!N'o,

"But I fear

that

you are not orthodox."

not," has heen my reply. It cost me nights and years of mental and religious agony in trying to preserve the strict form of orthodoxy in which I was

God, I

am

thank days and

born and bred.


of the term.
say, called

'No,

am

not orthodox in the strict sense

Few, indeed, are so to-day. I might almost I heartily thank my heavenly Father, that He hath

I might say that I was called into a state of salvation by a return to the conceptions of the early Greek Fathers of the Alexanout of that state of damnation.

me

drian School, and so relieved from the damnable state of trying to believe what may be called either orthodoxy, or

Augustinian theology. Verily it has been the lengthened shadow of this powerful mind that has long and widely

gloomy shadow over the Christian world. It was the Greek thought that formulated the Nicene Creed. The root conception was that of the indwelling of the divine Logos in nature and in man, finally incarnated in Jesus of Judea. All human history, both sacred and secucast a
lar,
is

the record of God's education of the race.

The

creeds and codes of all nations are records of the progress of this education. The final full and complete revelation

was made in and through Jesus.

But

the

same process of

a gradual education of his disciples into a fuller knowledge of it, has been going on through the centuries and is going on through our century. No finality as to forms of

knowledge of it by men in any century, can be accepted. Thus far and no farther dares no living church say. Finality means sterility. And a sterile church cannot fructify.

We

read the records of the various stages of this in the

history of Christianity and give them relative worth chiefly for their own times, but never finality.

There is no quod ubique, quod semper, quod ah omnibus form of the faith. That conception is a fiction of lazy

14
souls,

MODEKOTSM
and a
;

i:tT

KELIGIOIT

tool

used to

drill other souls into stagnation

of thought a steam-roller used for partisan purposes. Of absolute infallibility in such knowledge there is none. Infallibility
!

That has been the dream of mere seminarians


ecclesiastical

and of artful

politicians,

who

refuse to

acknowledge the work of the Logos in the movements of human thought and experience in this century, and anathematize all attempts to reset the old truth in new light. Religious men outside the church who rightly decline to endure the whip of such pretended infallibility, often retort that the church is often more tolerant of imperfect Christian lives in her members than she is of the imperfect creeds of those who would gladly become members. worldly-minded man of social influence or wealth who would swallow any creed, might enter the fold easily and become a pillar of the church. "Money talks'^ even to the church. Surely there was abundant material for such a

wholesome book as Mr. Winston ChurchilFs "Inside the

Cup."

The church

to be a teacher in

church learning all say that she has always taught the identical doctrine the faith once delivered as a jewel in a casket is to say that she has always been a static church. But her history shows that she has not been thus unwise. Identity is the category of deadness. No living thing ever remains identiIt lives and grows by adapting itself to a cal with itself. changing environment. So we should relieve ourselves of the incubus of infallibility and identity that make for a moribund form of Christianity. lN"o infallible church or

any age, should be a the new knowledge of that age. To

Bible or reason

that is

what we are

left with.

But we

are also left with the progressive stages of knowledge of the revelation of the abiding fullness of the Word made
flesh.

And

the end of our Tcnowledge of that

is

not yet.

IlSrTEODUCTOKY

15

Let us dare, however, to see Jesus with our own eyes, even as His first disciples saw Him, with their then modern eyes, colored as they were by their Jewish world-view, even
in the traditions given about Jesus in their Gospels. only replace their Jewish conceptions with our modern

We

Greek Fathers of the early church soon did each new view of the Master being ministrant to the best giving of His message to the men of their days. Let the church to-day give us a view more ministrant to our
ones, even as the
;

needs than that of any other age can be. We are, or we should be, the heir of all other ages. We should learn to
appreciate their point of view and their portrait of Christ. We should be the ancients, to be genuinely moderns. In

many ways we need


them that we have

to romanticize, to recover

much from

lost.

a deformation, a loss This, the wiser, the less hot-headed successors of the re-

Every reformation forward means of some of that which is discarded.

formers often recover.

The

old

maxim

is

true in

many

matters, "the vanquished give laws to the victors." This gave justifiable ground for some of the work of the Anglocatholic party. But no cultured mind can romanticize to the full de-reformize the Reformation or return to either
; ;

the primitive or the medieval form of the church. The way is through them with the historical spirit of apprecia-

and thus forward with Jesus, in the modern spirit. It is needless to enlarge further upon the difficulties that modernists find in the traditional and static conception
tions of the church.

am

writing for modernists

who

are

incurably religious as well as intellectual. For the many who are merely intellectual and for the more who are

merely worldlings I have no message.

TJbese latter are

in the pithecanthropopic stage of imperfection and in the state of sin, in glorifying instead of trying to rise out of
that state
;

trying to

make

the most out of this life in the

16

MODERMSM

m EELIGION

of comfort and pleasure. Here we Lave the vulgar pleasant vices of the many and the gilded vices of the upper classes ; the smart set and all who are smarting to get

way

into

them social climbers. For all such the need is for a John the Baptist, a Billy Sunday thundering the woes of damnation and calls to repentance. With a critical appreciation of the church of past ages, we say to modernists, stand by the church. With an appreciation of the difficulties thrown in the way of modern-

we say to the church, stand by the modernists who are trying to make you a living church in this age by modernists,

at least trying to modernize your interpretaizing you tion of the traditional interpretation of conceptions that were good in other ages; live now, as you have done in

other ages, by self-adaptation to the sustaining environment of this age.

But what, you

religion ? What ernists? Definitions are plentiful.

will ask, do you mean is this modernism ?

by modernism in Who are these mod-

modernist

a religious man who is Definitions of modempast ages, but the slave of none. isms range all the way from that of Pope Pius X, "Modis

I give mine. The the grateful heir of

the synthesis of all heresies," to that of Sabatier, [^"Modernism is not a system or a new synthesis: it is an
is

ernism

orientation."

Modernism stands for a new spirit and for modem methods in the study and teaching of religion and
ethics.

Surely

unless
ing.

modem

does not stand for a set of negations, learning negatives some of the older learnit

It accepts the results of

modem

methods and asks

It does not that they be incorporated with older views. offer a new set of dogmas, but it does ask for a modern in-

terpretation of the older ones.

It insists that religion is

more
it.

than theology and must be distinguished from It alters our scientific, historical and theological outvital

INTKODUCTOKY

17

look, but leaves our personal relation to Christ untouched. It is a vitalizing spirit making all things new, and an intellectual method rather than a formulated creed. It is

see things. "The hot emotion of one generation is the cold authority of the next one." And nothing cold is vitalizing.

the

way modernists

Modernism seeks to meet difficulties already raised by our modern world-view, rather than to raise up new ones. Mrs. Humphry Ward said: "Modernism is the attempt of the modern spirit, acting religiously, to refashion Christianity, not outside, but inside the warm limits of the ancient churches, to secure not a reduced, but a trans-

formed Christianity." Modernism thinks it is something like blasphemy against the Holy Ghost to deny that He is
speaking through

men in the twentieth century as strongly and inspiringly as to men of other ages. The Catholic Encyclopedia says, "A modernist is one
his

own age above antiquity." Father Tyrell says, "By a modernist I mean man of any sort who believes in the possibility
who esteems

a church-

of a synthesis between the essential truth of his religion and the


essential truth of modernity." Again, "I think that the best description of modernism is that it is the desire and

theological synthesis, consistent with the data of historico-critical research." Again the Catheffort to find a

new

Encyclopedia, speaking of modernism as an aggressive party in the Eoman church, says, "Modernism aims at a radical transformation of human thought in relation to God, man, the world and life here and hereafter." It should be noted that these modernists generally are Chrisolic

tian mystics. In the Holy Sacrament they realize that Christ dwells in them and they in Him. Ofttimes this mystical life is nourished in the sacrament

of silence and devout meditation as well as in that of the

18

MODERlSriSM
In
their

m RELIGIOIT
closet, at

home, on a train and in unemployed moments, or with a few others gathered together in His name, they realize His promise '^there am I in the midst of them." They house themselves well enough in any form of the church, very often in the Roman church. Sometimes they seem more like hermit crahs. But modern mystics love a love to realize their heritage in its past, living church and their at-homement in its living work in the present. They do not desire a new church or creed or cult. But at least they do desire a modern interpretation of these
Lord's Supper.

own

into conceptions significant to the people of this generation, and then a gradual change in form and language. love the prayers and hymns of all ages. They also care for modern ones, voicing present thanks and needs. They are glad that their minds are such palimpsests, that

They

the

new writing

does not obliterate the writings of others

in ages past.

"I accept the universe," said Margaret EuUer. Some one repeated this to Carlyle. His response was: "Egad. She had better." We of the twentieth century had better accept our modern world-view, underwritten, though it should be in still legible letters by those of other times. By it we are surrounded. In its atmosphere we think, and Modernists are simply Christians act and worship best.
are trying to live, and to get others to live, in better harmony with our present universe of thought. And we

who

wish to get the teaching church


the

to be a

church learning

learning. When I think of the bitter wars over doctrinal matters


:

new

that have gone on through the Christian centuries of the bitter feelings and bloody and fiery persecution of fellow
Christians,

aroused over formal intellectual statements about Jesus and His Evangel, I almost feel ashamed to

mTKODUCTORY

19

enter again this war of words. I am sure that every devout disciple of the Master, whether a traditionalist or a modernist, has times when he blushes, as he thinks how

much more

of his time and energies are spent in arguing about Jesus than in living as His disciple. Let every one

rather seek to translate his meager creed about Jesus into deed. Jesus never set His disciples to do the former. The

church which is more tolerant of an imperfect life than All of an imperfect creed, has little of His tolerance. creeds are imperfect. Jesus left us no intellectual com? pend of doctrines. "Be ye therefore perfect even as youi Father which is in heaven is perfect." The disciples found one casting out devils in Christ's name. They told Jesus "we forbad him, because he followeth not us." But Jesus said, "forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a mighty work in my name that can lightly speak evil of me." He did not encourage heresy hunters. 'Nov does His holy spirit do so to-day. And we all are so much heresy hunters, fault-finders, critics of our fellow Christians' creeds, and so little critical of our deeds. Can we not imagine Jesus casting a pitying look upon us in our wranglings about the form of sound words ? Let us rather seek to cast out devils, and rejoice in seeking others to do the same, though they "follow not us." Let us seek to be better Christian mystics, "we in Christ and
in us, very members incorporate in His mystical body," which is the blessed company of all that are faithful in

He

deed rather than in creed.

CHAPTEK

II

MODERNISM

HAVE

defined a Modernist as one

who

recognizes

I
to

that he is heir of all the ages, but feels and that he ought to be the slave of none. As a child

knows

grown

manhood and its duties, he feels that he ought not to hold with mortmain the heritage received in an enclosed

example of the fathers in using it in modern ways that he may pass it on to the next age richer than when he received it. Here let me expand an illustration. A modern man becomes the heir of an old castle, erected, perhaps, on the foundation of an old Roman fortress, and built to meet the
needs of
times in successive ages. It stood completed during feudal times, for defensive and offensive warfare for the preservation and extension of the possessions of its
its

casket, but rather to follow the

owners.

With the passing

of feudalism some of

its

old

enjoyment of the amenities of life. Its defensive features were changed as new modes of warfare came with the discovery of gunpowder. Its cross-bows and catapults, its military engines and melted lead, were relegated to chambers for relics; its towers reduced from 200 to 30 feet

useless parts were replaced by new ones. thirteenth century more space was given for an

and

After the

marring
non.

its

architecture, but fitting


its

it

to use

modem

can-

use for military purposes having ceased, it was made more habitable for modem men, by renovations and improvements. But there it stands as a
20

Later on,

MODEENISM
whole, a gloomy, forbidding fortress, with

21
its castellated

architecture; its moat and drawbridge and bastions; its outer and its inner bailey, in which were barracks and hos-

and chapel, storerooms and stables with fearsome dungeons beneath. It was handed over to its rightful heir in 1901. It had been his early home. But he had had his Lehrjahre and Wanderjahre abroad. Now he returns to take possession of it. He must take it as a whole and make it his palace-home. He may do some remodeling for the sake of convenience and make some restorations for the
pital

sake of architecture.

Some

of the old foundations will

need replacing and some of the old rooms renovation. Some he cannot use, except as museums, preserving the weapons and furniture of its different epochs. Its dungeons he may fill in or wall up. The old outside bailey he may turn into a flower garden, and the inner one into storerooms. Often he passes through all parts of the castle,
letting pride of ancestors and heritage warm his heart and nerve him to be as valiant in his day and generation as

he introduce the convenieiAces of modem housekeeping into some of the rooms, or perchance add a new wing to the old castle for this purpose but in keeping with its old architecture.
will

they were in theirs.

Yet

But one may

say,

why

not raze the old castle to the

ground and build a modem mansion, fitted with all modem improvements? He would do so if he had neither sentiment nor wisdom neither loyalty nor historical sense. Just how much or how little he may destroy or change depends on sentiment as well as nay more than on common sense. If he be a barbarian all will go. If he be a
:

man

as possible will be kept intact. Very recently the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings has been greatly stirred by the Bishop of of culture, as
filling in of

much

London's consent to the

the moat, which, since

32
tlie

MODERNISM IN RELIGION

day of the Danes, has encircled the Episcopal palace at Fulham, That society offered to raise the two thousand pounds that would be needed to clean out and repair the
moat.

But the Bishop thinks that, considering the needs of the hosts of men out of work to-day, this would be a sinful expenditure. That is a matter of a good heart and

of good common sense. Previously another Bishop had converted a similar moat into a beautiful garden. Was
that a desecration
hesitant if

Perhaps these Bishops would be more the question concerned the filling in of some
?

of the noxious ecclesiastical pools in their domains. The heritage of an old castle coming to a modem

man

Here

the picture be transferred to the case of a modernist in an old church, redolent of the piety of ancestors who lived, fought and labored in it; full of historical aslet

sociations, rich with that

which cultivated the religious

nature.

The wise man knows


in
it

that he cannot well create a

institution, like that of the church.

He

will suffer

new much

that

is

the

much

out of tune with his religion, for the sake of He would that it affords for its nourishment.

seek rather to reform than to destroy. He would preserve and seek to transmit this heritage, increased and enlivened

by the

spirit of the

to build a

cultured

new modern

age, rather than aid any project one with all its crass vulgarisms of an unage,

new

and the defects which would soon


one.

become greater than those in the old

the modernist here puts in a justifiable demurrer. That is all right from an academical, as well as from the

But

sentimental point of view. But it is not practicable. at the old castle. The growing city surrounds it.

Look
It is

It should either be conrelatively a blockade to progress. verted into a warehouse, or modernized throughout, or

razed to the ground.

The

river

on which

it

is built is

MODERNISM
filled

23

with steamboats of traffic or pleasure. The rest of the shore is lined with docks and more space for them is demanded. Or many guests or new members of the family are coming to the castle. Shall the heir house them in the old parts of the castle ? Can he give them a warm recep-

and gloomy rooms ? He may state his hisHe may apologize torical and sentimental view of them. for much, smile at much that he does not take very setion in its cold
riously.

But he can only make the new members

feel at

home

in the renovated parts of the castle. he will renovate the whole of it.

If necessary

Christianity, we say, was the heir of the Jewish church. Really it was the heir of much more than that. But how

long did

What was preserve that heritage intact? Jesus' attitude to it? Did He not destroy it, while fulHow long filling its purpose in a new and larger way? did the early disciples offer the Gospel in its Jewish form,
it

in their missionary efforts? How much of its Levitical law, and its national cult, with its sabbath and circumcision, did the

dead."

new church keep ? "Let the dead bury their "Why seek ye the living among the dead ?'' Do

not these Gospel sayings voice the attitude of the Master and, later on, that of the Apostles, towards the old
heritage
?

Yes, we believe the demurrer of modernists is justifiable and should be sustained. The wise man's opinion is un-

modernist should be as patient with the church as he is with any other institution. Every institution carries with it a lot of old material that is regarded as outworn and is so interpreted. It is so imbedded in the old that it would be hard to separate the two. Besides the religious emotions cling to the old. Only in times of a
wise.
Still the

great revival will they cling to

new

forms.

Again

this castle figure is too

mechanical an one to

24
apply
to

MODEROTSM IN RELIGION"
any
institution of the spirit of man to any ageorganism. Perhaps that of the chambered

long vital nautilus is a better one.

"Build thee more stately mansions, oh,

my

soul.

As the

swift seasons

roll.

Leave thy-low-vaulted past. Let each new temple nobler than the last. Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast, 'Till thou at length art free.

Leaving thine outgrown

shell

by

life's

unresting sea."

The

nautilus does build

them on and largely out of could be formed or continue except in


nection with
all

new chambers, but it builds the old ones. No new chamber


vital organic con-

the older ones.

Schism means death.

Moreover
its

It is an organic whole. the nautilus is never un-

chambered, never leaves

outgrown shell, till death comes. Body and soul together grow till death doth them part.
houseless, homeless Christian is rarely more than a lifeless abstraction. Christianity is a social religion. One

The

Christian no Christian.

no

social religion and religious institution, is another abstraction.

both grow together grow into "a dome more vast," till The old shell does not vomit out the death doth part.

no body Let them

new

life.

tions.

The new shell does not forsake the old convoluThe shell enchains, but its chief function is to suslife.

serve as a picture of the modernist with a psychological knowledge of the relation of soul and body and an historical appreciation of the need and value
tain the

This

may

a picture, not a photograph of any church visible, though it arrogate to itself the title of Catholic.

of institutional

life.

But

the picture

is

taken too literally, the modernist will put in another justifiable demurrer. The nautilus wants to sail
if

But

MODEKlSriSM
and tries to and nearly
but with wliat an impediment. lifeless convolutions hold it down.
sail,

25

The

old
is

What

known

impede rapid marching, are the provisions of food and arms and

in the

army

as impedimenta, things that

baggage that are necessary to its maintenance. It casts aside all unnecessary food and baggage. It will have none of this sort of impedimenta. Think how much of this sort of impedimenta is being carried by all the churches. The Methodists have their outgrown Book of Discipline and are calling for a new one "conforming to twentieth century needs and thought.'' The Greek church and that of the Baptists are holding on to their scriptural but belated doctrine of immersion, the latter confining its use to only converted adults. The Presbyterians still present the Westminster Confession of faith as their standard. The EpisArticles of Religion in copalians will print the the back part of their Prayer Book, while many of all parties in that church hope that they will soon be printed

XXXIX

only outside the Prayer Book.

Hosts of Presbyterians
as-

ahrug their shoulders, and salve their conscience when

senting to much in their standard. But when the Articles go out of the Prayer Book, as they have already gone out of authoritative belief, there still remains much of
their obsolete terminology imbedded in the various services. It would be difficult to expunge them. They are practically

XXXIX

But they give offense to any modernist who encysted. thinks that they are to be taken without many grains of salt. They are impediments to those within, and an obstruction to those without but wishing to enter the church. Something should be done to explain away their position of

authority over men's minds and consciences, or to remove

them altogether. But the nautilus figure may mother church and to any church

afford
son,

an ideal to any in their mutual rela-

26

MODERNISM IN RELIGION

tions in times of great strain, perhaps the birth-pains of a new convolution. Neither the murder of the new born

on the one hand nor matricide schism from the church on the other hand That is the way mother nature works in the nautilus. With man, there is always so much sinful selfishness and ca-

Holy Innocents

excommunication,

pricious willfulness; so much lust for autocratic power and so much lack of appreciation of a nurturing institution so much of the devil in it all, that the ideal is never

realized.

But, at

least, let it

be accepted as the ideal goal


striv-

that our whole groaning eth to attain.

and travailing Christianity

But the modernist, while recognizing that he is the heir of all the ages, feels and knows that he ought not to be the mere slave of any one of them the apostolic, primi-

tive patristic, medieval or reformation age.

Though the

umbilical cord be unseverable, the mature man may stretch the mother apron strings till they break, without breaking

with the domestic circle. Rarely being an ascendant, sometimes more of a descendant from his parents in the way of moral character, the modernist is apt to know more and to know some things better than they know them, and many things that they never knew. Of knowledge in the higher sense of the term, this is often untrue. But he has had a broader education has studied in more fields, has

traveled more; lived in


cles.

more

intellectual

and
this.

social cir-

Wise parents and churches recognize

They

re-

joice to see their children's progress

beyond and above their own station. Proud are the mothers who realize that their children know more than they do. And the children, because they have thus broken her apron strings and fared

worlds, as their parents did before them, will they cease to love and obey her? Must they believe that she is infallible in all spheres; that there is
forth to discover

new

MODEEmSM

27

nothing beyond her apron strings, in order to show her true Must one be an abject slave, a confilial reverence? formist to all mother's ideas and ways ? Must he not feel that he should bring all his new culture and lay it at
mother's feet as a tribute and a contribution to the domestic circle ? Parents exist to help their children and in turn
the children feel bound to help them in expansion of ideas as well as in ways of living. How the son, returning from

new

scenes, rejoices the mother's heart as she, with doting fondness, listens to his tales of different scenes and new

something that no son can do, if he remains forever tied to her apron strings; what no modernist can do if he is slave of any past age. He must inideas.

And

that

is

crease his heritage of the ages and leave it greater and richer to pass on to the next age. Slave of none, otherwise he cannot fulfil his duty as an heir. Slave of no institution if that institution is to be a
vital

and growing one.


is

Our picture has

told our tale.

an the church in any of her historical forms The modernist is historical castle, a chambered nautilus.
institution
lihe heir,

The

the newly forming convolution of the nautilus. But before working out these pictures into the frame of historical religious experience let me dwell a moment
filial

on the maternal and the


loyal to

relations in the church.

We
more

Protestants are often forced to ask

why

Catholics are

than Protestants are to their churches. We would fain explain it by her autocratic domineering over her members, by her official tyranny. But that is not the root cause. Let us admit that it is because of her mothering side, that they accept her ecclesiastical and doctrinal dicta. She mothers them better than do our Protestant churches mothers them too much, we think; keeps them

Kome

slaves; at best children intellectually


filial spirit is

and morally.

The

more

loving.

The

voice of the mother, what-

28
ever
it

MODEROTSM
says, is the voice of

11^

RELIGIOISr
Because of
this,

God.

how

rarely she has occasion for heresy trials that mean, "get out of my house."

If any unmotherly church should say to me "get out," then temperamentally, as a Christian mystic, I might feel
like going to the almost creedless, cultless Quakers.

But

and worth of institutions, I might have to go to Rome, the mother of many Christian mystics, as well as the mother of so many repulsive doctrines and crude superstitions. Who would not be a Roman Catholic, if he could be a St. Francis of Assisi, one of the most Christlike of men But no, if one remembers the pathos of that life and the life of his regenerative order. Power was what Rome has always wanted. She ecclesiasticized the life out of St. Francis and out of his Order. In its present form it is utterly sterile. His Third Order, which he meant to be a socially regenerative one, is now a mere name. He was, it is true, bred in Rome, but she bled the life out of him and out of his Order. And official
with

my appreciation of the need

her lust of worldly power. If she cannot mother her children to obedience then she smothers them to death. Thus she has smothered the whole of the

Rome

has never

lost

modernists within her realm. The only hope is that she will never be able to smother to death the form of Americanisme, under which her modernists flourished

in this country. Is it possible that the Latin heel can ultimately crush the American head?
Little need be said about the value, in fact the necessity, of institutions for the education of the individual and the
race.

writ large in every place of man's development in every age and clime. The history of man's education is the history of the educational institutions of
is

That

family, church, state, school, society, science, art, literaof economics, fraternities, labor brotherhoods, tures,

MODEEmSM
;

29

every sphere where the aim is to promote unities and a higher way of living of every way that helps to socialize a race, races and the race. The most comprehensive and the most elusive of conceptions as to the relations between God and humanity is almost a It has a long that of the Kingdom of God.

world-long

found not only in the Jewish conception of it, but as an ideal in all religions and polithis life of the human race on tics, of what it all means earth and its ultimate goal. Jesus adopted the current Jewish ideal and adapted it An extreme school of critics holds that He to His ideal. did not adapt it, but that He accepted, was adapted to it,
history.

It is

enslaved by

it.

If

we thought

this to be the truth, as

maintained by Schweitzer and Loisy and others; if we thought that Jesus essayed to be the Messiah of the Jews to bring to fruitage their conception of it and that He failed in his attempt at his last entrance into Jerusalem, a poor deluded religious and national zealot, then we should write no more, nor would there ever have been any church nistory to be read. It is true that He never gave any full and detailed account of this conception as adapted to His It is through a wonderful series of parables mission. that we must read it. His disciples never understood His conception. They have handed it down, clothed with their own preconceptions. ^'But it seems a perverse blindness to
;

what

palpably distinctive in the teaching of Jesus, to hold Him to have been possessed by the apocalyptic conceptions of the kingdom which ruled the mind of the people." ^ In St. John's Gospel we find that the conception of
is

eternal life is equated with and takes the place of that of the Kingdom of God, this latter being used but twice in this Gospel. The whole of Jesus' teaching shows this to
*

Francis A. Henry, "Jesus and the Christian Religion,"

p. 20.

30

moder:n'ism

m eeligion

.-

'

'

s^'y'

^/v

Lave been His conception of his work and mission, rather than that of the Jewish conception of the Kingdom of God. The category used is biological rather than political. "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." Both St. Matthew and St. Mark preserve some of Jesus' biological conception, amidst their Hebraic clothes of Messianism, wherewith they marred His form. Either Jesus was a deluded zealot or His disciples misunderstood Him. "Verily I say unto you this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."

They took

His mouth. or. He was mistaken.

this literally, if they did not put it into If he uttered this did not take it literally,

He

the whole, the judgment of the church has been It has flourished only right in rejecting millenarianism. sporadically in small sects of zealots for the Jewish con-

Upon

add that the Jewish Messianic conceptions were later and far lower than that of the Jewish prophets. So spiritual were these generally that it is possible to see the conception of Jesus in them, in spirit and
in rudimentary fomi. "The Gospel in the Prophets," how much better Hebrew clothing to put upon Jesus, than the contemporary conceptions of the frenzied zealotry of a
political party.

ception. It is but fair to

No better work

is

needed now than a truth-

vociferous exponents of Jesus, as the apocalyptic ^Messiah, the deluded Jew who perished in his zealous attempt to realize it. It is a brief for Jesus as greater than His biographers.
ful refutation of the

now somewhat

His Kingdom on earth. done on earth." Doing "Thy kingdom God's will in any sphere is promoting this Kingdom. It But it works outward as is inward as a vital principle. the leaven does. Jesus never succeeded in getting His conChrist's mission
to spread come, thy will be

was

MODEEOTSM

31

ception fully into the minds of His immediate disciples. Many of His parables they understood not. Christ's Kingdom is the Kingdom of the Father. Kingdom is used
as a conventional symbol. His thought is rather that of a family composed of those who gain a moral likeness

Father in heaven. It is a social order inclusive of all social orders on earth where the Father is loved and obeyed and when the brothers love each other even as He loved men. It was a sociological ideal. It was at hand.
to the It

was working in
till

their midst.

leaven
that

the whole

lump

Its spirit would work as be leavened. It works so slowly,

we sometimes
life to exist

fear the earth will too soon reach the

predicted frozen condition that will

make

it

impossible for

His ideal. Everywhere, in family, church, state, the social and economic orders, in schools and workshops, in literature and science and art, in all societies and fraternities, wherever any
on
it.

How comprehensive was

two or three of any nation or religion are gathered together this kingdom of the Father is present just so far as all their doings are in accord with His will, as revealed in the spirit of the Master. To get and keep in this kingdom, and to spend one's life in service promoting it among one's fellows to seek chiefly this kingdom, this is the primal and central duty of all men. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God on earth. Who can doubt that Jesus put chief emphasis on this? When one reads the Gospels, he realizes how petty and selfish is the idea of personal salvation from
;

punishment hereafter. Yet for how many centuries such a salvation has usurped the rightful place in Jesus' thought of the kingdom. Surely a readjustment of emphasis is needed in this matter perhaps a restatement of belief as to salvation

being a state of fitness for service in the Kingdom.

Again how

false

and how

belittling of

His conception

32
of
it,

MODERNISM IN RELIGION
when
it is

identified with the church.

The church

came into existence to further the far wider Kingdom. It It dares not seek self-aggrandizeis a means to that end. ment. But it has done this and it has suffered the penIt alty of being a poor means to such a grand purpose. has sought wealth and gotten it. It has sought earthly power and honor and glory and gotten them, but it has thereby always weakened itself as a promoter of the Kingdom. The Pope pointing to his heaps of money at the
Vatican, said to a poor friar, "If St. Peter were here now, " he would not need to say, ^Silver and gold have I none.'

The

friar replied,

"Nor could he have

to say 'arise

and walk'

the spiritual power to restore the lame man to health."

The various other circles in the Kingdom have often done better work than the church. Why are so many good

men and women


world.

She surely outside of her fold to-day? has no monopoly of the moral and spiritual life in the

Members

of labor brotherhoods find

more of

broth-

erliness in their organizations than the church seems to offer them. Then as to others, a devout and learned pro-

fessor of theology once said, "I

disposed to think that a great and increasing portion of the moral worth of society lies outside the Christian church, separated from it

am

not by godlessness, but rather by exceptionally intense moral earnestness. Many, in fact, have left the church
in order to be Christians."

think of the modern conception of salvation, which has come from the modem study of the life and mission of the Master the conception that one is saved
just so

When we

far he working in the Master's His Kingdom on earth ^when we consider


as
is

spirit

and for

this,

do

we

not

know

that

men

will simply smile at

to utter the old cry,

any church that dares extra mecclesia nulla solus no salva-

tion outside the church.

MODEKOTSM
Christ's

3a

Kingdom

is

identical

with moral goodness,

wherever it is found. The philosopher and the scientist reading God's thoughts after Him and trying to follow in
these footprints the devoted mother, the loyal soldier and sailor; the faithful teacher and lawyer and doctor, the loyal to the ideal of the many vocations into which men
;

are called

all

these are promoting that

Kingdom on

earth.

"A

servant with this clause

Makes drudgery divine;

Who

sweeps a room, as for Thy laws. Makes that and the action fine.''

The master passion of the Master of Christians was that of promoting the Kingdom of a heavenly Father on earth.

We may thank the advocates of Jesus as possessed with the


Jewish apocalyptic vision, for having shown us how the idea of the Kingdom is the fundamental one. We give His disciples the blame for attributing their national conception of the Kingdom to Jesus. He adopted the term as a
conventional symbol of the supreme good for the human race. He adapted it to all future ideals as to what things
are really worth while in the life of men on earth. To-day we may say it stands for social righteousness ; for any and all social states of men in so far as the mind of the Master
rules
;

in so far as

His motives constrain in


;

so far as they

Sermon on the Mount making social life worth living. The gospel of the secular life is another name for it. The Bepuhlic of God
lead to a following the precepts of the
is

a good

His conception was a far wider one than that of any church organization, however catholic. The church grew naturally out of the association of disciples, when they began to propagate the gospel of this
not.

Did No! He did

equivalent. Jesus establish the visible church as this

modem

Kingdom ?

34 Kingdom.

MODERNISM IN RELIGION

True, the churcli has often identified herself with that Kingdom. It is not worth while to refute such

an arrogant and groundless assumption. The most that can be said of it is that the church has had the function of
promoting the religious life of men; of their relations to God the Father through His son Jesus Christ. It is thus ministrant to the spiritual (a far wider term than religious) life of

men
is

The church
Gospels.

kingdom. the natural and legitimate outcome of the


it sers^es its

in all secular spheres of this

It is jure divino, so far as

ministrant

She has had a wondrous history of mighty accomplishments. It would be easy to eulogize her for all her good works, and she justly deserves such eulogy. And this should justly accompany any indictments and harsh judgments, though fairly made against her. Without her,
purpose.
as the chief ministrant of the religious life, as ministering to the larger spiritual life of the race, life on earth would

be far

worth living today, as well as in centuries past. She has been an age-long institution for the welfare of the race. She has changed, grown too slowly with the progWhen a living church she has lived ress of the world. with her times; the purveyor of eternal life in the temporal life. In a tree, the real life from its roots is found The former layers form the in the present new layer. moribund stock which defies the storms and gives support The leaves and fruitage of past years to the new growth. Its annual fallen to the ground form soil for the roots. growths have increased its girth and solidity. The new
less

layer holding all these in its embrace, does the vital work That may serve as a picture of a of present growth. really living church.

Such has been the method, the unconscious

logic of the

church through the ages. Many of the supposed impedimenta have really been encysted to give strength and expan-

MODEEmSM
sion,

36

the essential ones have been preserved in its growth from root upward polity, creed, cult and sacred

while

all

literature.

"I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree.

whose hungry mouth is prest Against the earth^s sweet flowing breast;
tree

A A A

tree that looks at


lifts

God

all

day.

And

her leafy arms to pray;

tree that

may

in

summer wear

nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow

Who

has lain; intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.'' ^

Only God can make a living church and keep it living and growing. As I look out of my window, my eye rests u^on a stately, wide-spreading tree a Tulip Poplar that ^^lifts her leafy arms to pray" and stretches them out to give shade from torrid sun to cattle lying beneath it at mid-day. It was a large tree twenty-five years ago. But it had become hollow hearted. Children made a playhouse inside of it. One day it got on firetwithin. The lambent flames raged furiously, almost to its very top, and

we
out
*

looked for

its

crashing to the earth.

all its rottenness.

parts.

It stopped when it to its living It continued to grow. There it stands to-day, a


poet

The came

fire

purged

From poems by Joyce Kilmer, a young American made the supreme sacrifice in the late war.

who

36

MODERISriSM

i:^

EELIGIO:^^

big and living tree that "only

God can make" and keep


volume

living through cleansing fire. "The Church in the Furnace" is the title of a

written by seventeen English army chaplains in the recent war. It is a loud cry against the futility of their church

meet the needs of the Tommies in their hours of agony and in their hours of sheer daily drudgery. The church was speaking in theological language in a dialect not understood even by those who had been trained in her. The message of the book is like that of the old Hebrew
to

prophets. "Cry aloud." "Spare not." "O Jerusalem, wilt thou not be made clean ?" "Repent and return from your

to-day would profit by reading their lamentation over the use of outgrown forms; their
idols."

The whole church

cry for better vernacular ones to meet the religious needs of men in this century; their loyal cry for the cleansing
fire

of the

Holy Ghost
let

to

burn up her old

boleths.

Better

the fire

bum

and shibup the rotten and deidols

cadent parts. Life from the roots will flow all the better in the living present growth. The church has never been quite dead. Thank God for that. The church has never

been entirely lukewarm. The church has never quite ceased to appeal to the higher nature of man. And, though she has given too many theories about Jesus and His work, She she has never ceased to emphasize his supremacy. has been the church of Christ, however much she has
apostatized from His spirit at times. His Gospel for nineteen centuries.

She has kept alive Without her, we should be ignorant of that Gospel to-day. Whatever the forbidding forms in which she has sometimes presented it, she has preserved and points back to the historical

Jesus of the four Gospels. "The church's one foundation" has always been "Jesus Christ our Lord." When she harks back to Jesus of !N'aza-

MODEKNISM
retli

37

she gets and gives warm throbbing, winsome new life. The castle, the nautilus, the tree, the picture! How
it

That is historically with the church? too long a story for this place. When worked out through the nineteen centuries of her history, it shows all the limidoes
tations as well as all the vital truths of the pictures. Ever growing through and in spite of all limitations that is

work out

the true story of the church read with no pessimistic view of the ways of God in all history ; the justification of God

His way through all institutions that promote the welfare of mankind in the school of His kingdom on earth. The church as an organization for the propagation of the spirit of the Master of the disposition of heart and mind that will further the coming of His Kingdom on
in

earth, sanctifying all done in other spheres of man's secular life, has four aspects of Life, Polity, Doctrine a

Way

and Cult

CHAPTEE
POLITY
is

III

more than
the house.

tlie

house.

Yet

Jesus, through the ages and changes of the house, making the church the nurturing home of the religious needs of the race. In this institution we may distinguish four phases:
ciple.

without Back LIFE Then forward with

to Jesus

life perishes for the life prin-

Life, Polity, Doctrine and Cvlt, the latter three of worth Of these just so far as they are ministrant to the first.

of polity. Protestantism too much of doctrine, and both Rome and Protestantism in need of revision of cult Rome in the way
let

me

premise that

Rome

has too

much

of purgation and exclusion and Protestantism in the way the Life both have too of enrichment. But of the first

little.

And

life is

Christianity.

the essential, permanent element in Hence the perpetual need of going back to

Jesus, especially when we feel the strangling or smothering of this life in the relatively non-ministrant phases of In the primitive community polity, doctrine and cult.

All was inchoate. The polity and dogma were unborn. belief in the second coming of Christ in that generation, yielded them no need of polity and dogma. They were
waiting.

be allowed, that they had only a way of Whoever goes back to life, but not an ad interim Ethik. Jesus for His way of life, must go back to the four Gospels,
It

may

as these are

now

cism.

Whoever

seen by the aid of modem Biblical does this may rightly be esteemed a
38

criti-

mem-

POLITY
ber of some one of the

39
_

many

folds of

His one

flock,

and

should so be considered by the representatives of the offiJesus of the Gospels cial and doctrinal sides of that fold. and His way of life Jesus, Him first, Him last and Hi^. way of life, that is the root and heart of vital Christianity.
!

am disposed

to say but little as to Polity

the adminisof the

It is the least vital of trative phase of the organization. the three. 'No one form is necessary to the being (esse) of the church, though different people may consider some
special

form

best for the well being (bene esse)

church.^

character of any form of polity cannot be proven by an appeal to the New Testament. The Master himself established none. His interest was the promo-

The jure divino

tion of the

Kingdom.

We

had no polity. He church. So did the early Jewish Christian communities. How little sympathy and how much antagonism He showed He would in his relation to "the rulers of the Jews!"

He

cannot go back to Jesus here. lived under that of the Jewish

transcend the whole of their legal view with


that
it

all

the evils

had begotten. After His ascension His band of disciples became a community, a party within the Jewish church. The glimpses that we get of that inchoate community, show us a body of men with a mission, organizing from time to time in ways best fitted to meet the present needs. Within a century Episcopacy seems to have become the regnant form.

From

that time

we

find Episcopacy covering a longer time

and a broader territory than any other form of church government. Of course mere length and breadth of Episcopacy does not prove it to be the only or best polity. But development justifies the three forms the Episcopal,

*Cf. at length my "Studies in Hegel's Philosophy of Religion," Appendix on "Christian. Unity."

40

MODEEmSM

IN RELIGIO:^r

the Presbyterian, and the Congregational. Some form is always necessary, but it is by far the least excellent side of the church. It is not a part of the faith.

part of the institution, whatever form it takes, must be retained, but also restrained and kept from the assumption that it is the most vital part of the church.
i)olity

The

Identified, as it was in Home, with the clergy, such a state of affairs that it raised the cry ecrasez
'

it

led to

That was the state Eastern church, the religiously moribund orthodox church, had brought its people, that made the same cry, "crush the church," possible with Bolshevism. Simplify the machinGive the laymen more ery. Reduce its power and pomp.
the church.
voice therein.

crush

Vinfdme into which the

Then

two and in England. The annual convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1886 proposed the historic Episco-

as to the official church unity, we may refer to attempts made by the Episcopalians, in this country

pate, as the basis for unity of polity. Immediately the high churchman began to insist that the historic Episco-

pate could only mean the sacerdotal doctrine of the Apostolic succession and the jure divino theory of Episcopacy.

That

killed the

movement

Protestant churches.
fabrication.

for unity of polity with other Their view is utterly an unhistorical

the conception of a body of men as necessary channels of his Holy Spirit is the very opposite of His spirit and method. In the late Lambeth conference the high churchmen

Christ never instituted it

And

again thwarted the wish of many bishops to present the Its proposal of historic Episcopate as a basis of reunion. it was so worded that the other churches saw that it meant

more than a

polity ; that it carried with it the idea of giving clergymen of other Protestant churches something essential ; something more than they could give in return.

POLITY

41

In a word the high church theory of Apostolic succession was implied in the Lambeth proposal. Since writing the
above,

November 26th has come to hand. Its editorial gives the same view of the matter. I am glad to give a quotation from it as it voices my sentiThe Churchman
for

have the deepest respect for those Nonconformist churchmen in England who refuse to be decoyed by any of the Lambeth proposals which cast a doubt upon
ments.

"We

Church unity is not precious enough to Christendom to be purchased by such a concession. Nothing must be done, say a minority, which shall imperil our efforts towards unity with Kome. Nothing must be done, say others, and The Churchman is of the number, which shall make impossible unity with other
the validity of their
orders.

own

Protestant Communions.'^
step toward official, often miscalled organic unity of the churches, is that of a Federation of the churches, not that of a swper official church. Rome would
first

The

way, and none could do it better. Borgia, Alexander VI would make its most potent head. Federation! Episcopalians may well be ashamed of the weak and non-committal attitude of their church in this matter in her last General Convention. Then intercommunion. But we blush at the Kikuya

show us only

this latter

In inviting members of the other churches to the Holy Communion, I sometimes remind our own people, that we should not do this as an act of condescension, as it would be, unless we were willing to Exchange accept a like invitation from their churches. of pulpits, intercommunion and the federation of churches,
incidents.

and Panama

are practical ways that should be used. What is the matter with the church ? Oh, say some good churchmen in the Protestant Episcopal church, it is the
lack of

Church unity; the

evils

of divisions between

42

MODERmSM

IN KELIGION
Holy Catholic
the Anglican

the larger historical branches of the one Church The Roman, the Eastern and

But can we believe that, if this were achieved, many good people now outside would hasten to get inside ? Believe who may, we do not. At least it would all depend
branches.

upon a

No

spiritual revival being coincident with reunion. reunion of wilting branches would avail, if they were

not spiritually branches of the living vine; unless the spirit of the Master flowed more richly through them all. Suppose the dead church of Sardis and the lukewarm

church of Laodicea (Rev,

iii)

had united, would that have

made

a live and aggressive spiritual force in the world ? This reunion of Christendom, alas, is thought of too much

in the
unity.

way

It is called an organic of a church polity. I know no It would rather be a mechanical one.

more perversely perverted use of a

scriptural text than that of Jesus' prayer "that they all may be one; as thou Father, art in me and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us." Unity of spirit! That is the true, vital or-

Ubi Spiritus, ibi ecclesicu Oh, the inanity and the vanity of some of our Bishops and clergy in flirting with the eastern Holy Orthodox Church in their efforts for such a dead mechanical unity. For that church is, both in thought and sentiment, oceans and continents and ages apart from western Christianity. It stands for a petrified orthodoxy and a stagnant autocganic unity.
racy.

And how

painful,

nay how ludicrous, has been any

the master diplomat. But when the spirit of fraternal relations with other Protestant churches moves in many hearts in the Episcopal

approach to the crafty

Roman church,

church,

toward manifesting this unity of spirit, are blocked by the extreme high church party. Take the members of the monastic Order of the Holy
all practical steps

POLITY
They have everything Roman

43

Cross as foremost leaders of this backward movement.

except

the

Pope

mass,

mariolatry celibacy of the clergy, the seven sacraments. Reunion with Rome is their fondest desire. Polity is a matter of the faith. Schism is the deadliest of sins. They

must see that the papacy was, and is, the historical normal and logical result of their conception of church polity. jNTursed in the Protestant Episcopal Church from puling infancy, this party has grown into domineering age and It has become almost intolerably intolerant of strength.
Protestantism in the Protestant Episcopal Church. It is hastening a crisis, when there will be schism from one side
or the other.
it is

We

cannot

call it a school of thought, since


it is

But chiefly one of memory, of old traditions. also most active in its propagation of medievalism.

Surely the members of the Order of the Holy Cross are open to a very strong suspicion that they are Jesuits in

Sometimes disguise, in the service of the Roman church. we feel like saying: Oh, Rome! take in thy well grown
child, conceived

and born in the sin of schism, but


It is
ill

still

the child of thy spirit.

at

home

in a Protestant

church, and pray God, it may never be able to do as it wishes carry it all back to thy fold. would pay just tribute to the narrow type of holy

We

living of these fathers; tribute to their self-sacrificing work in stimulating the religious life in others and tribute If they would to their devotion to our common Master.

show their equal devotion in modem ways if they were not so insistent upon making their brethren adopt their medieval type if they were not such polemical propagandists if they were a bit more modest and tolerant of other views, we should be thankful to have them continue in our church, instead of going to their more congenial
only
let others
: ; ;

44

MODER^-iSM

i:^r

religio:n'

home
izing

believe in keeping our church as comprehensive as possible. But we do not believe in Romanit.

Rome.

We

Pardon another reference to the organization of the There is a movement to forward its Episcopal church. development on the hierarchical, rather than on its demo-

wants to have the presiding Bishop's residence in Washington and to have Archbishops and a centralization and multiplication of machinery. Rome led the way before, and a Pope was the natural and logical result. We want no more ecclesiastical titles and offices, An American but more simplification and spirituality. Bishop should not look forward to having a palace per* haps not even a cathedral, unless that exotic can be thoroughly modernized, as I think can be done. A fine cathedral inspires devotion in all who see it and in all who enter It it. It can be made a house of prayer for all people. can be made the center of learning and of pulpit eloCare should be taken not to use it for the selfquence. aggrandizement of any one church, nor for enhancing the external pomp surrounding an American Bishop, nor for weakening of the work of parishes and a semi-cathedralizing of their work in the diocese. Well may rich and poor
cratic side.

It

join in giving a part of their offering to the erection of such a building.

The

art effect is akin to,

and inspires religious emotion.


of

Episcopal Church! Yes, let us have it as a house of prayer and praise for all people. Rich men can do more towards saving their souls by contributing to its erection than in many other forms of ostentatious gifts. Eools they are if they do not in some way contribute largely to works benefi"Thou cent for the uplift of men ere they hear the words

national

cathedral

the

Protestant

fool, this

night thy soul shall be required of thee."

POLITY
But how much
better it

45
to

have a national cathedral for all souls of the many folds of His one flock a house of God that no one church could claim, or use
its

would be

for
olic

own aggrandizement.

would such a cathedral

How much more truly cathbe. How much more like


men
of all political

our national political Capitol for


parties.

fancy you say. Nay, but a realizable ideal. Morea super over, when there comes a federation of nations state, with its super Capitol there should come too a super Cathedral for people of all the religions on the face of the

earth.

The Pantheon

at

in

simplicity, might should be cleared of the tawdrily filled with exquisitely chiselled

its

so wonderfully impressive be a model for it. Only the niches

Rome,

ornamented
statues

altars

and

prophets, who ing to the wisdom given unto them Zoroaster, Buddha, Confucius, Mahomet and other prophets, along with the

great spake their message to their people accord-

of

the

prophets of the Jewish people.

The dangers of officialism and its machinery are known to need many words here. The genius

too well

of any

polity should be to rule for the benefit of those ruled. Too often this is perverted into that of ruling for the benefit

of the rulers.

Ecclesiastical Machiavellianism in the

offi-

cial part of the

church came long before Machiavelli.

It

comes to every form of officialism. It is found to-day in the Methodist church and in other churches besides that of Rome, though in a much less aggravated form. So we say, go slow with the official unity, the unity of polity.
Prepare the way by getting the sort of unity that Christ prayed for, the spiritual unity of Himself with the Father. Let this process go on through (St. John XVII, 21.) federation and fellowship and intercommunion till love reigns till Christ reigns within and then Polity may pass
;

46

MODEROTSM

11^

EELIGIOIST

in music, if not out of sight, into a less noxious, because a more ministrant, shepherding and a less ruling function.

Either the power element of Rome, or the love element of


the

Good Shepherd

the former

if

any

official, so-called or;

ganic unity of Christendom be shortly achieved the latter, if we all abide a wee in our own folds and labor therein for the spirit of the Master and for oneness with the
Father.

In

this aspect of the church,

one can say as

it

has been

"The women! God bless them! True that sometimes we don't get along very well with them, but then we could never get along at all, without them."
said of

women:

CHAPTEE IV
DOCTRINE
teaching. Every institution has its teaching side, in which it sets forth the object of its existence and its fundamental prin-

means

DOCTRIl!^E
ciples.

The teaching

side of

an institution

is

much more
of these

vital

than that of polity.

It is only
official

when some

teachings are set forth by

authority that they be-

come dogmas. The largest part of church doctrine has no such official It may be the teaching of some great theoloauthority. gian, or the opinions of some parties in the church, or the general belief of a church at some given time. All such doctrine has only relative worth and authority, and so is
a great deal of restiveness under forms of both doctrines and dogmas. This is an anti-doctrinal and anti-dogmatic period in the life of the
changeable.

To-day there

is

church.

properly
ing.

The dogmatic

side is all contained in the ITicene Creed

speaking, in the Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan symbol, known as the Nicene creed. Eor the first three hundred years the church had no form of dogmatic teach-

What

Certainly the apostles did not formulate dogmas. became such was simply the teaching used in their

missionary work.
rent difficulties. the times.''

Ofttimes they set

it

forth to meet cur-

The

"They

Epistles were personal "tracts for taught according to the wisdom given
47

48

MODERIN-ISM IN RELIGION*

unto them." They had no I^ew Testament before them. They were without thought that what they wrote would later on be canonized as Sacred Scriptures. They had no prevision of Nice, or of the Reformation. St. Paul, that wonderful Christian mystic, teacher and church founder, thus began in his Epistles the teachings which eventuated in dogmas. His teachings were carried on and developed by Platonic thinkers in the church through the Nicene period, and then on and off, till St. Thomas turned the church from Plato to Aristotle, in the thirteenth century. There were parties in the primitive coramunities that St. Peter in his day, as threatened to tear it asunder. many more in this day, found in St. Paul's teachings "some things hard to be understood." He himself did not
speak in PauFs dialect, did not accept his dicta. He says, or some one said it for him, that St. Paul only wrote "acOn the other cording to the wisdom given unto him." hand St. Paul says of St. Peter "I withstood him to the
:

he was to be blamed." Barnabas was "carried away with the dissimulation of the Jewish party in this matter." In another dispute between Paul and Barnabas we read that "the contention was so sharp between them that they departed asunder, one from the other." But then there was no infallibly inspired New Testament to appeal to, as there is none now. There are more things in St. PauFs epistles, that modernists find hard to underOur general world-view is stand than St. Peter found.
face, because

But we also must teach "according to so very different. must go back, the wisdom given" unto us in this day.

We

not only through reformation and scholastic and patristic views but also through St. Paul and St. Peter to the Jesus
of the gospels for
eyes.

And
says
;

with our own modern woe be to that fold that says nay to the one

The

life,

and see

it

who

D0CTEI:OTE
"If Jesus Christ
is

49

And
That

I say of all mankind, I cleave to

only a

man

man
him

And
Modernists

to

him

shall I cleave alway/'

be accused of over emphasizing the real humanity of Jesus. But that is as integral a part of the So high a churchman creed as that of his real divinity. as Bishop Gore, while deploring this, excuses it. Speaking of the theories (about Jesus) of the modernists, he concludes "What are we to do in the face of the modernist

may

movement

I will speak now of only one thing. It is a reaction for which the Catholic Church is largely responsible. Over long ages it obscured the full Gospel reality
?

of our Lord's humanity. It thus came about that very important elements of the truth about him were brought into
notice again from quarters more or less alien from the as by Shelley, or the author of "Ecce Catholic standpoint

Homo" or Dr. Glover. These recovered truths have fascinated men and reattracted them to Jesus but so far as to
;

make them
them.

distrustful of the church

which had ignored

evident again that all these elemust give ments of truth are part of our heritage. fresh and constant study to the Prophets and the Gospels.
it

We

must make

We

We

simply to authority especially as in the Anglican Church, the mere appeal to


to appeal

must not be content

must authority is for different reasons ineffective. think out again what we believe and why we believe it, so as to be able to teach afresh, and in such a way as to
men's minds, and to win their hearts, the old truth about God and Christ and the Spirit. We have been giving too much attention in our preaching to subordinate
interest

We

points."

"If Jesus Christ

God And the only God I swear


is

60

MODERNISM

m RELIGIOK

I will follow him, through heaven and hell. The earth the sea and the air/'

of the modernists in their emphasis on the reality of our Lord's humanity. They might even be accused of Jesuolatry. They have reached his divinthat
is

And

the

way

ity through his humanity. At a recent conference of modernists Dean Rashdall read a paper setting forth the wslj

the Divinity of our Lord seemed to him most likely to appeal to the present age. His Bishop was assailed with demands to "either prosecute the Dean of Carlisle, or
at once

his paper as heretical." The Bishop says: "I have read his paper carefully and can find nothing in it which amounts to the denial of any

condemn

So far from being a denial of the Divinity of our Lord, it is an attempt at once to explain and establish it." But of this more in a later
article of

the creed.

chapter. For doctrine

we must go through

that of all the Chris-

tian centuries, learning and unlearning as we go, back to St. Paul. For better and for worse he began, what was
inevitable to thinking man, the use of the intellect on that which is primarily of the heart, in framing it all into

form or a dogmatic estimate of Jesus and His work and message and mission. A full consideration
intellectual
;

ought to be given to the world-view, the mental horizon and atmosphere, the environment in which The life came
to

Him.

Suffice

it

to say that

it

was that of the Jews,

espe-

cially the

Jews of the

dispersion, the Hellenized Jews.

He

was a pharisee of the pharisees, but he was more; a citizen of the Greek city Tarsus. Judaism did not limit
from
its

his intellectual horizon.

transplanted the Jewish sect narrow intellectual outlook to the broader one

He

of Greece.

The Jewish Messiah soon became the Greek

DOCTEINE
Logos.
in their

61

That was the way Greeks could understand

Him

own broader

dialect.

The following
is

discussion of the J^icene Creed can interIt interests


is

est only theologians.

me
why

why
it.

I wrote
it

statement of

And that stand. Many


it.

That profoundly. I let an abridged

modernists will not agree

with

so they had to think the question of the Person of Jesus out into speculative
thinkers.

The Greeks were

And

They would never have reached the profound doctrine of the Holy
form.
this.

The Jews never could have done

Trinity.

On Greek

soil the

was threshed out with all were found to be heretical,


Arianism, Sabellianism,
all

whole Christological question sorts of views which later on


as to the person of Christ

forms of Docetism and Apollinarianism and ^N^estorianism till the (Ecumenical Council of Bishops, at Nicea A. D. 325, with the unbaptized Emperor Constantine holding the whip handle over it, in the interests of the state. Here was framed the first

form of a Catholic Symbol or creed. and the emperor commanded them

Forged as

it

was

creed

in the fire of fierce controversy, as the heated manifesto of a numerical majority; disgraced, as most of

forged

to forge a Catholic

such councils were, with more tumult, violence and trickery than appears in any modem ecclesiastical or, perhaps,

any political council, it succeeded in doing the needed work for thought in framing a Catholic Creed. We can see a real development of doctrine through the whole Nicene period. This creed cannot be repeated understandcentral parts by any one not familiar with the terminology of all the Christological controversies. Eor

ingly in
it

its

most

must be a sacrosanct symbol

to be used best in

councils of learned clergymen, but good to be said or sung on all high festivals of the church.

62

MODERisriSM
For a thinking man,

11^

eeligio:n'

Greek sense of philosophic I thinking, it deservedly stands on its intrinsic merits. have elsewhere given such appreciation of its worth that I need not further cumber these pages by giving reasons for my thankful acceptance of this form of sound doctrine, a veritable charter of comprehension and also of freedom. Its Christology and its doctrine of the Holy Trinity,
in the

are nearly ultimate for my thinking. I should accept it on its intrinsic merits even if

it

had

been framed by the provincial council of the General Assembly of Westminster Divines. I could do no better if I formed a council of one and essayed to work out a
doctrine of the person of Christ myself. The clause "who proceeded from the Father" had the addition made "and

from the Son"

in a later,

non-ecumenical council and

caused the schism of the whole Eastern (Greek) church. I think that the addition was correct and necessary. us note how it is a charter of freedom as regards any non-ecumenical dogmas. Supposing that we can accept the Nicene creed as Catholic dogma, how then

But

let

regard all other forms of doctrinal teachings of the church ? We may regard them all as relative. Take the Augustinian system; take reformation theology; take
shall

we

the socalled catholic theology; take !N^ew England orthodoxy w^e may say of every one of them they are merely

of relative authority.
several generations,

One should seek to understand how they came about and how they expressed the mind of their
and so give them due historical appreciation, and then put them in some theological museum for Suppose that one has not safe-keeping and inspection.
the time for such study suppose that a church puts any one of them before him for acceptance as authorita;

he to do ? Refuse assent say frankly that he does not believe them in the way demanded. That is what
tive,
is
;

what

DOCTKIKE
I should do.

63
to do.

That

is

what I should advise others

They are not true Catholic dogma. The Nicene creed, that charter of comprehension of dogma is also a charter of freedom as regards all other forms of doctrine. They should not be allowed to worry the soul of one trying to be a Christian. They are open questions. Thus this creed says nothing about when or how
ought to have saved the church from giving grounds for such a wholesome and needed book as that of Dr. Andrew D. White's ^^History of the Warfare of Science with Theology." It says nothing about an infallible Bible. What theological warfares this might have saved us from! Nay even
created the world.
this

God

How

save us from now.


us.

ment

the

Think

It says nothing about how Christ saves of some of the immoral theories of the atone-

earlier

one of

Christ

the devil, tricked by the human vine victim: or that of His being literally a proor to pitiatory offering to an offended Father (Anselm)
:

being a ransom to form of an infinite di-

His

justice, as of substitutionary value.

These were

all

attempts to rationalize how "God was in Christ, reconcilIn spite of these words ing the world unto Himself."
of St. Paul, he himself was first among those to try toexplain how. The creed says nothing about how we receive

grace sacramentally. Think of the Roman theory and also of the too one-sided subjective theory of Protestants. It says nothing of predestination and f oreordination. It says

nothing about ^'how the dead are raised up and with what body do they come." St. Paul changed from his view in his first Epistle to the Thessolonians (A. D. 59). In his first Epistle to the Corinthians he says "thou fool" to one holding his own earlier view. It says we believe in "the

world to come," but says nothing about the state of those departed. Think of the nightmare of horror
life of the

64

MODERNISM

IN"

EELIGI0:N'

cause bj both Romanist and Protestant pictures of bell from which it might have saved many terror-strickea
generations. This Catholic creed is a chapter of freedom on all these points. These conceptions are all dependent upon, and relative to, current world-views. As to the state

of the departed wicked, I recall an incident in a classroom of a theological seminary. The professor was ex-

pounding the orthodox view on this subject and decrying universalism. He mentioned the name of a clergyman holding this heretical view and added that he had been deposed from the ministry. Well, I exclaimed, then they would better depose me before I am ordained, for I hope
for the ultimate restoration of
all

the Father's sons.

Then

he explained that the clergyman had been deposed on the ground of immorality.
''0 yet

we

trust that

somehow good

Will be the final goal of ill. That not one life shall be destroyed Or cast as rubbish to the void

When God
This
is

hath made the pile complete."

a bit of nineteenth century optimism, somewhat chilled by the inhumanities in the great war. Pray for
the final redemption of those German military fiends ? Yes, I did pray for that, but for that accomplished

through eons of fiercest purgatorial fire that might purge out their brutal qualities by Him w^ho ^^always sits as a
refiner

and purifier of
it is

silver."

fair to say that many modernists do not esteem this creed in the same way. They are, I think, too prone

But

and approach the whole subject in an inductive and pragmatic way. Thus Dr. Edwin Hatch of the University of Oxford laments the influence of Greek philosophy on Christian doctrine. "The bequest of it has
to flaunt philosophy

DOCTEIlSrE
been a damnosa hereditas."

55
if it

"Even

be considered a

development of Christian doctrine, much of the Greek element may be abandoned." He does not have the speculative sense to appreciate it. But this is because he believes in Christianity as essentially a way of life. Cast off the emphasis on theology and return to the Sermon on the Mount, and Christianity may "stand out again before the world in the uncolored majesty of the Gospels." Here he is right. He makes the difference between the Sermon
.

on the Mount in the early days and the !Nicene


.

creed, in

the fourth century the topic of his lectures.^ . . "Why an ethical sermon stood in the forefront of the teaching of Jesus Christ, and a metaphysical creed in the forefront
of the Christianity of the fourth century,
is

a problem

which claims investigation."


for
its

He blames

damnosa

heritas, in all
all

Greek philosophy dogmatic theology. We

agree with him, as do

emphasis.
tianity as a

Dogma
way
of

is

modernists, if it is a matter of subsidiary, often injurious to Chris-

life.

So many modernists are restive under catholic dogma, as well as under provincial forms of doctrine. They do not
have the speculative mind in their studies. The inductive and pragmatic methods appeal to them as strongly as the
speculative method did to the Greeks. not use these modern methods ?

Why

should they

Protestant modernists are free to look this dogmatic gifthorse in the mouth, and seek to attain the same results

by other methods. They believe in progress in doctrine, and are in earnest to contribute to a more vital, and intelligible form for their day.

A
r

new
one.

theology!

make
fatal?
1

No

No, they are not foolish enough to That is still much in the making. Is change change is bad for the old house. But no

'The Hibbert Lectures for 1888," pp. 138-351.

56
change
is

MODERNISM
also

m RELIGION
Dogma, primarily,

bad for the tenant.

plausible opinion. When communal, it gets offiBut it is still only opinion rather than cial sanction.

means a

Look a moment at the psychological steps knowledge. in the formation of dogmas. In childhood the religious mind is nourished on pictures, later on by pictureconceptions, then by abstract conceptions, dogmas, clearThen comes the critical stage, cut definit-e opinions. ending either in agnosticism or in a more just appreIn ciation of the place and worth of these dogmas.

the teens comes the necessary catechetical period for learning the doctrines of one's own church. Soon then comes

the iconoclastic, puppy-dog period of delight in tearing everything into pieces. The youth is quite sure that all
opinions, except his own, are foolish. not even the oldest. Later on he

the opinions of the youngest are be brought to see that all live things, nautilus-like, are in a process of development. He can read the history of dogma,
at least, in the historical spirit. means sterility. He gives up his

None are infallible, may doubt if even infallible. But he may

He

sees that finality


infallibility.

dream of

in the changing order. may be a bit impatient with the older parts of his castle. To present static forms, he may say, You change not, therelives

He

and thinks freely

He

fore you are dead, just as an old stand-patter may say. You change, therefore you are not true. Ultimately, as he

and living institutions, he may accept his heritage with some modern improvements. He may become a stand-patter himself and romanticize into the old. Then he is not a modernist. But dogma of some kind he must have, even if it be that
comes
to

know

the nature of

all life

of his

own making even if it be only that of the ostracized agnostic, "I don't know and nobody else does," logically ending with a doubtful doubt about his own doubt. This
;

DOCTEOTE

67

he scarcely ever reaches, but houses himself in his own dogmatic doubt. Dogma one must have to live. Dogma is one of the necessary products of life. Life
begets
its intellectual

very stronger than the radical element in all institutions, that they may do their best work; cultivate the soil best. Intellectual nomads cultivate no soil. It has been said that it is better for a state to abide with many bad laws, rather than to be forever changing. There is partial truth in this. Change must and does come. But it should come slowly to meet the needs of changing times. First the old, then the new in and with the old. That is the way with the English Common Law, a more natural one, perchance, than that of the American Constitution with its increasing number of amendments. This is not quite as radical
naturally
as the darning an old stocking till the old part is gone, and a wholly new one is left. In English Law, if a court

It is house, its intellectual shell. conservative. Conservatism should be

gives an

adverse decision for the plaintiff, an appeal can be taken to show that it is not in accordance with
justice.

fundamental right or
its

If this

is

sustained before

the eyes of reason, the court will reverse

its decision.

Thus

progresses. Equity, which Aristotle defined as a higher kind of justice, prevails over any legal form of justice. It applies ^^the leaden rule that is used

Common Law

in Lesbian architecture," ^ not a rigid but a flexible one, adapting itself to the unevenness of the shape of the
stones.

But

the church

is

more conservative than the

state.

Be-

sides the religious emotions cling to sacrosanct phrases and dogmas. Continual change of, or tinkering at, these static

forms shakes and loosens the tendrils of the clinging vine weakens the faith in and the love and loyalty to the mother.
;

Aristotle's "Ethics" Bk. V. C.

XIV, and

his "Rhetoric"

1.

XIII.

68
Yes,

MODEROTSM IN
say, dogmas, as

RELIGIOiN'

keep the form of these sacrosanct phrases and we do an old pair of shoes. They are so comfortable. To go slow here is the wisdom of conservatism. The leaven is still working in what sometimes seems to be putrid dough. The mood of progress is at least unpleasant to stand-patters. For it points out all the uncouthness and deficiencies, all the faults, follies and crimes of the old. Its eye scans a wider horizon. It sees possible new forms for life in the present, compared with which the forms of the old seem decayed and withered. It can say

many

the old shibboleths with difficulty. Perforce it pours its new wine into the dry old skins to the bursting point and longs for that point to be reached. "Let the dead bury the

Perish the dead forms of a law-encrusted gospel. Forward with it in forms best fitted to meet the needs of
dead."

Both conservative and radical are wrong. The conservative says, God was, and God worked in some places in the past. The radical says, God is here and now; present and working as really as He was then and there.
this generation.

cunning of reason, the way of God in history, can abide quietly in the old, while working for the new. Genuine conservatism must have some of the mood of progress, for it knows that no living institution can keep living except by the rejuvenation that comes

Only he who can

see the

from meeting the changes of environment; by responding to the dominant ideas of new periods which give the dialect and framework for its experience, religious or otherwise, The wise rade.g., the dominant idea to-day, of progress. ical, must in turn, be the heir of all the ages, must believe
that "through all the ages one increasing purjxDse runs." But when the crisis comes; when a great historic turn-

the sorrows of travail come, then, as history shows, a Luther rather than a genuinely conser-

ing point comes;

when

DOCTEIlSrE
vative Erasmus, is needed, to build the
sion.

69

more

stately

man-

There have been many systems of theology in past ages that were new in their day new at least in very many of their points. Sometimes Sometimes older views were molded into broader forms. quite new views were introduced, but always in connection with and with reference to older views. These have generally been the work of individuals of great intellectual power, men like Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, Arminius and, in this country, Jonathan Edwards and the other 'New
?

A new theology to-day

England orthodox theologians Bellamy, Shedd, Hopkins, Taylor, Bushnell, Einney, and Parks, till orthodoxy collapsed about A. D. 1880. Since that time the new school of theologians in Congregationalism has flourished on the

This process was much aided by the intellectual Unitarians. Doubtless the old orthodoxy looked on it as the advocalus diaboli. But it did a good and a needed work. To-day we find among clergy and laity
ruins of the old.

many who

are really tri-theists instead of being ^N'icene Trinitarians the Latin term persona being an unfortu-

nate and very imperfect and misleading translation of the Greek term used in the creed virocrTaais.

All this

But

too academical for the purpose of this book. for the trained theologians the New theology must go
is

on within the

last convolution of the last shell of its nauti-

lus-like theology. The new wine old bottles as Jesus poured His

must be poured

into the

new

truth into those of

Judaism

till

they fairly broke.

second Augustine, Aquinas or Calvin, has not yet appeared in the church. But for the great majority the new work must go on through and out of current provincial

dogmas.

The cry

for this is honest and clamorous to-day.

60

MODEROTSM

11^

KELIGIOlSr

Modernists cannot bring themselves into harmony with the old, which speaks to them in dialects relatively obsolete. Time and thought will ultimately do the work. Dust will settle has already settled over the tomes of old dogmatic

theories.

in the

The age is seething and bubbling, nay boiling, new work, with non-conforming thought and con-

This work must be largely critical and largely radical and not an agreeable one. The constructive work also goes on. I^ew But the conceptions are being formed and proclaimed. work is withstood by the ultra-conservative element in most churches, chiefly in the ranks of their clergy, and comes up against what has been characterized as the clerical mind.
science, within, as well as without the church.

Then clergy are naturally conservative of the old. they have vested interests in it. First it was Bishops in General Councils, since then it
The
has been the clergy in provincial councils, and sometimes in councils of the lone self, that have been dogma makers.

monocular, biased and partisan. It needs to be supplemented more with the mind and the wider vison of the laity, if progress is to be made. The clerical mind, I let it go with a quotation: "By clericalism," says Canon Freemantle,^ "I understand the system which unduly exalts the clerical office, and the function of
clerical
is

But the

mind

draw away the sense of divine agency and appointment from other offices and other funcpublic worship, so as to
tions.

This tendency

church.

not really one that exalts the It exalts the clergy alone; it dwarfs and emascuis

lates the church."

Give the laity more

voice.

Let the church hear their

serious, earnest, wistful desire, too often repressed in their loyal conformity, for a new dialect in doctrinal conceptions.

The hope

of the church

is

with the

elite of the laity,

*"Bamptoii Lectures for 1883,"

p. 364.

DOCTKIKE

61

nurtured in the new learning. Through them largely the constructive process goes on and a new dialect is being formed. The new learning brings forth new metaphors,
It sees the old faith in new light, reconceptions. ceives it in harmony with the changed conditions of modern science and culture. Only on her own peril can the

new

church excommunicate herself from the larger life and learning and vision of modernists. The most deadening of
all

heresies is that

which

restricts truth to the exclusively

mind, or even to that of good minds in ages past. We have found the bones of the giants of old, and found them to be no larger than our own. Let us dare to work in their spirit. Many of them are found to be an inspiration, but let none of their conceptions weigh on us as an incubus. Their duty is our duty. See as best we can with our modern eyes, as they saw with their then modem eyes. Woe is me and woe to the church, if the Christianity of Christ be not larger and richer than any of its formulations. Dare to form new ones, temporary but vital for the needs of the new age. Let the process of change go on. Let the church be at least patient with the pioneers. But she must be more. She must be the church learning (ecclesia discens) if she would be the church teaching (ecclesia docens) to this age in the matter of Christian conceptions. She must integrate all the new learning with the old and sometimes supplant the old with the new, if she would be an inspiring teacher of those who have, pedagogically,
clerical

passed beyond the catechetical period, out of the sunday school into the church. And her Sunday schools should be primarily for teaching the simple Gospel story, and then
for the dogmatic teachings of the church.

Let modernists go on freely forming new conceptions, and frankly giving them utterance. They may thus help to create a modern atmosphere around those who are either

62

MODERisriSM

m religio:n"
We
are none of us infal-

The danger of loyally or lazily conforming to the old. modernists is that of premature dogmatism, of puppyism not yet come
lible,

to maturity.

not even the youngest. But infallibility is never in order in this sphere of relativity. What is best relative to our own times and needs is all that can be urged here. Let

men remember that the over emphasis of dogma the bane of Rome and of Geneva, and beware of

has been
like dog-

matic over emphasis themselves. Let them, too, be patient and not lightly hurt devout souls, for of such is the kingdom of God. Let them take more time for the study of old forms that they may have a truly historical and religious appreciation of them ; of ages in which they were formed

what they meant for the and of how they met the
one of the
intel-

needs of their days.


lectual

Lack of

this is also

They fail to read the way of God in the history of the mind making dogmas. They see only a scene strewn with dead forms. Dogmas are never dead bom. The old ones were as vital in their days as new ones are now. God is in history as well as in the present. Either that or there is no God. If so, all
sins of modernists.

and religious

thinking is a delusion it may all be of the devil and thought be his tool. Much of the crudity and incompleteness in traditional forms
is

made more

tolerable

when

them in their historical environment. Many minds remain geocentric. Many heliocentric minds are often geocentric in their dialects. "The sun (our sun) do rise." All others have set. "The sun rises and sets," "yours truly," and other polite terms, the modernist must often use when conforming to some outworn forms in public worship. Thus the Augustinian theology
one
tries to see

implied in the opening exhortation of the office of Baptism of children may choke in the mouth of the minister, as he repeats it. He would sooner omit it and pass at once to

DOCTEINE
the sweet words of Jesus in
tlie

63

Gospel that follows.

Other

outgrown words in the public services, he knows that the mind of the church herself has encysted or that she takes

them cum grano

salts.

Communion

office.

Take the word satisfaction in the That is a definite term in St. AnseWs

theory of the atonement as a satisfaction to the divine It is only encysted in It ought to be dropped. honor.
It is a post-Nicene and prothe thought of the church. modem conception. Or take the word propitiation in a The sense in which it was verse quoted from St. John.

meant

by those who put it into the Communion service was wholly the pagan idea of propitiating an angry His God was St. John knew no such a Deity. Deity. Love and Light. Better drop that verse from St. John's
to be taken

Epistle of love than to keep it as conveying the pagan notion of propitiating an offended Deity.
for the creeds, I deprecate any mutilation or reediting them on many grounds, as I would deprecate the
total

As

remodeling of a fine old castle into a modem palace. They are works of religious art, and should be preserved

intact.

Keep them

in the services of the church.

Put

them in the background when you come to the office of admitting new members. Here we may plead for a simpler
one.

It is needed for the

many

adults

whom we

should

fain gladly receive and who would gladly enter if a simpler creed should be demanded for their acceptance. Let me suggest one tentatively, such as I should like to use in

presenting adults for confirmation I believe in the Father of all; and in Jesus the revealer of

God and
;

the Saviour of men.

I believe in the

life-giving spirit
eternal.

in the fellowship of the children of God ; in the forgiveness of sins, the victory of love, and the life

Amen.

CHAPTEE Y
A PEESONAI.
CONFESSIOI?r

AFTERworth
tive
life?

writing the preceding chapter on Doctrine, I find myself asking after all, what is the compara:

of doctrine in nurturing the Christian I think that I can best answer this from personal

experience. bred in it.

As

to traditional orthodoxy, I

was born and

me.

In college the usual skeptical spirit possessed In the seminary I had to fight my way back into

I succeeded. orthodoxy, almost through bloody sweat. In my academical life philosophy took me to its deepest foundations, and I became a Nicene theologian. In later

religious experience and work it all seemed to fall away not disbelieved but seemingly irrelevant, so that orthodoxy passed in music out of sight. I still hold the Nicene

Christology intellectually. But I have no use for it to cultivate the religious life in myself or in others. I find like other modernists, that the inductive and pragmatic meth-

ods yield

more
ter.

better spiritual food and also appeal much directly and fruitfully in leading others to the Mas-

me

Doctrines about
this matter.

are not very greatly ministrant in Personally I regret, in later life, the time

Him

and wrestlings I gave to theories about Jesus. because I had been bred to think that right
essential to salvation.

That was belief was


doc-

If I

am now

asked whether

trines quicken worship spiritual pulse and enhance and work, I am compelled to say that they do not. So I decline to put the old emphasis upon creeds and doctrines

my

my

64

PEKSOISrAL COISTFESSION

65

when trying to turn souls from themselves to Jesus and His way of life; to reconcile them to God through Jesus
and to incline them to practical working for His Kingin all the spheres of life. I only endeavor to get the little circle over which my influence extends to try to fol-

dom

low His footsteps and in His way of life. I sometimes wonder that people who are not thoroughly educated put so much emphasis on doctrine. This is largely due to the over emphasis put upon orthodoxy by the church and clergy.
This produces bigoted
fellowship.
zealots.

It

is

divisive of Christian

reads of the f anatacism, the hatreds, persecutions, and wars that have been its unchristian fruitage in many ages of the church. To-day, however, doctrines do not appeal enough to men to fight about. Time and experi-

One

ence and education has rather


est

made them outgrown. Earnthem aside

men

in all churches are saying, Let us put


all

for the time with

the disputations and doubts they cause. Let us try to get back to Jesus of the Gospels, and Let us have something to live as He would have us live.

influence in shaping our lives than have traditional doctrines about Him. Of course men can-

that will have

more

not help thinking about Him. in other ages thought about

They may learn what men Him. But that requires

memory, not thought.

It is helpful, of course, to go back

through the nineteen centuries of Christological speculation. But it is fatal to both life and thought if we tarry in any one of them, unless we go back to Jesus and then think That will give us afresh, through them all, about Jesus. Back to Jesus for life and forward with vital doctrines.

Him

to doctrines about

Him:

at least freshen

up

the old

doctrines and perhaps aid in forming a new theology. For forms of doctrine let bigots fight. The Christian cannot be wrong who is following in His most blessed footsteps,

which were not in the ways of the doctrinal scribes

6Q

MODERmSM
new

m KELIGION
rightly ask

and Pharisees of his day.


present the

But you may

how I

in the old in

my

try to sketch my way Talking with honest skeptics, I always try to appreciate their difficulties, of which I ask for a frank statement.

Let

me

teaching and preaching. in this matter.

Often with cultured people this leads into philosophy. The fundamental question here is that of idealism as against materialism or, say, against the mechanical scientific conception of the universe and the resulting religious agso thoroughly a trained philosophical idealist, that I find little trouble in vindicating it. But then comes their doubt about the doctrines of the church.

nosticism.

Here

am

Here

too I ask for a frank statement of their difficulty in

swallowing them.

Then

I try to give the


to relieve

modem

view of church doctrine

and Bible

the old views.

them of difficulties arising wholly from Then the modern view of orthodoxy, so

that questions as to total depravity, theories of the atonement, and the state of the departed need not trouble

them. I try to give the historical view of the origin of all such provincial theological doctrines which the men of past generations, seeing through their then modem eyes framed, many of them now obnoxious. Finally
I try to lead them back to Jesus of the Gospels, as seen through the work of modern Biblical criticism, showing

them that honest

criticism is always constructive. Through all the ecclesiastical and theological pictures of the Master

I say, go back to the Master Himself, as living and teaching and working in Judea; back to Jesus and see Him
re-achieving the Divinity
tion
;

He

had before His

real incarna-

and to the salvation for men which He sought and for which His life and death sacrifice were so freely given. Recognize that His idea of salvation was that of getting His mind and spirit into the hearts of
back to

Him

A PEESOl^AL

COJSTFESSIOI^

67

men, that they also might labor better for His one chief the advancing of the Kingdom of God on earth. mission, Study the Gospel portrait of Him first and chiefly. Then I ask, can you not take Him as your loving friend, teacher, master, leading you to a higher life? Will you say that of all mankind you will cleave to Him always? Will you dedicate your life to His service? Then what doth hinder? Arise and be baptized. Enter the church and use all her means for further edification in life and doctrine. And no church should ask more for the admission of new disciples. Jesus asked even less. Let her trust *^ that one who can only say Jesus most divine, when most human thou art" is at least on his way to a fuller concept tion of his Divinity. Trust him in his stage of Jesusolatry. Let him get love and loyalty to Jesus and he is on

his

way

to the Christ of the creeds.

Again, you may rightly ask how I preach to my own flock what message do I give it ? When after thirty years of academical life and after

real evangelical sort of conversion, I re-entered the active work of the ministry, I took this text : "Let this

new and

mind be
ii:5.

in you, which was also in Jesus Christ." Phil. And that has been the burden of my message ever

since.

The same mind, the mind

motiving all our conduct of soul, here or hereafter. We are saved just so far as we are thus saved by Him. And we have so little of His We need more of the spirit of the Evanspirit now.
spirit

of the Master in us. His that is the only salvation

passionate, constraining love of the Master, begotten in us by His passionate love for us. Back with them to Jesus for our religion. Ofttimes
gelical

party

the

the Evangelicals went back chiefly to His Apostles for doctrine. Let us live more with His Gospels; study

them more and with equal devoutness.

But not back

68
witli

MODERNISM
the

i:^

RELIGI0:N'
scholastic

Evangelicals
their

to

their

schemes

of

doctrine;

intellectual

^^plans

of

salvation'^

and

formulas and party shibboleths. Loosen the bands they put around the Bible. Cast off their doctrine of the plenary inspiration of every word and letter in all parts of it. Take the Bible as we now know it to
straight- jacket
be, as containing the

word of God

as received

by men of

other ages, under the historical limitations of their times and education and their general and differing world-views.

Take
tians.

it

as

we now know

it

to be, as containing the re-

ligious Belles Lettres of the

Hebrews and the early Chris-

as containing much that is not religious literature with much that is pure folklore and exaggerated tribal history or legend. The old doc-

Take the Old Testament

trine about the Bible

is

not true.

We

should not dare to

our children; to teach or imply it in teaching them in our Sunday schools. We should allow them to read only parts of the Old Testament and those always with Then their Anselmic theory of intelligent interpretation. the atonement; of sin and salvation, of heaven and hell,
teach
it

to

will surely be obsolete. As to the life of the departed, I have preached as follows : But how best conceive of the plus ultra the more

what heaven means ? Men are forever making pictures of that which is unpicturable because it is super-picturable, "beyond compare" with And then, as they grow in things of time and space. knowledge and spiritual life, they are forever casting away That is good and proper as long as it the old pictures. does not also cast away the faith in that for which their That for which these always stand is old pictures stood. the the Kingdom; the family of God for His children plu^ ultra of death. If you were to ask for the most genbeyond
?

How

best realize

eric belief about the character of the future life for sons of

A PEESOJ^AL

CO:tTrESSIO]^

69

men, I should answer that it is the same that I have for the end and purpose of this life; and that is the further education and discipline of the sons of men into the image of the Master into sons of God. Dante pictures in local coloring, the various grades in

this future school.

He gives eight grades in the Purgatorio

for the purging out of sin and nine grades in the Paradizo for further education and refinement. Through all these

Divine Pedagogue is drawing His children into mystic union with Himself in the tenth circle the highest heaven. Education! That is the essential meaning
circles the

of the doctrine of the intermediate state of the departed. And the intermediate state, the intermediate school, that

the highest that the vast majority of us will be fitted to enter, so slow has been our progress in His school here
is

below.
just as
verse,

Our death day will usher us into the new world, we are. But it will still be in the Father's uniif

not somewhere, in His larger universe of ^all things visible and invisible." We shall enter it with the same characters with which we leave this school, with

somehow,

something far more rich and personal than Karma. We shall need further education and further remedial punishment, or purging. Why not give this intermediate state the name of Purgatory ? It has bad and repulsive associa-

That we must admit. But it is a good term. It is a state for refining and purifying. Few of us shall be fitted to enter heaven few are the saints, the pure in heart who shall see God. That will take a long course of education and purgation for the most of us.
tions.
;

Again,

we

are social beings here.


social
is

depend upon our


future school

a social

Our characters here relations. So we think that that The apostle speaks of the state.

whole family in heaven and earth. comforting His disciples in His

When
last

our Saviour was day with them on

70
earth

MODEROTSM
He
said
:

IN"

KELIGIOIST

"Let not your hearts be troubled. ... In my Father's house are many mansions" that is many homes. The same holy, social bonds that unite men here

the tender ties that constitute a family here; the friendships, and the schooling together in all social circles, will

higher and nobler forms. How empty and cheerless heaven would seem without the personal presence there of our elder brother Jesus Christ, and without the welcoming presence of our dear
doubtless continue
there
in

departed relatives and friends and brothers. Without this social element, and reunion with friends, heaven would
never seem attractive enough to ever
for
it.

make us homesick

the story of the heathen Goth who came to a missionary to be baptized that he might go to heaven. He asked the missionary where his ancestors and where his

You know

dead children were. As baptism was held to be necessary to salvation, he was told that they were in hell. Then, said the noble Goth, I won't be baptized. When I die, I want to go where they are. But in my Father's house there are many mansions,
homes, many schools. Between a pious mother and a wicked son in the same house here on earth there is often an impassable gulf, at least for the son. The mother's love makes the pass. Good scholars and unruly bad ones may be in the same schoolroom there as here. Again, to continue an annual theme on All Souls' day in All Souls' Church, can we pray for the departed ? If we have prayed for them here how can

many

cease to pray for the early Christians

we

them there? The vivid sense that had of the communion of saints

the belief that the dead like the living, were still living members of Christ's Church made it impossible for them

A
to

PEESo:NrAL co]^rEssio:N'

71

pray for the one without also praying for the other. Here is an old epitaph
:

Here

lies

the body of David Elginbrod,

Hae mercy on his soul, Lord God, As I wad do, were I Lord God, And Thou wert David Elginbrod/'
That expresses a genuinely human cry of the soul. Have mercy on my soul, here and hereafter. Have mercy on the souls of my departed loved ones, as I would were I Lord
God.

The prophet Ezekiel

says, "All souls are mine, saith

the Lord."

All souls are God's here and hereafter, now and forever whether home-staying sons, or prodigal sons to he drawn back into the Father's house. That is the eternal

Christian hope and prayer. old doctrine that death ends

To
all

the

modern Christian the probation and that evermen,


is

lasting torment awaits the majority of

inconceiv-

ably blasphemous. the modern view:

Tennyson's well known lines express

^^Thou wilt not leave us in the dust Thou madest man, he knows not why, He thinks he was not made to die And thou hast made him Thou art just.''
:
:
:

shine upon them and give them peace and joy and rest and further discipline and service in Thy kingdom beyond, through our

Lord, grant that light perpetual

may

elder

brother,

our Master, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen.
I don't preach
is

I do, it Nicene theology on Trinity Sunday; at Christmas the

many

doctrinal sermons.

When

72

moder:n'ism in eeligio:n"

Logos in the infant Jesus who "increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man." Then through Lent, how "he learned obedience by the things which he suffered" (Heb. v:8). How he was,
real incarnation of the

in all points, "tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. iv:15). How He suffered agony in Gethsemane;

how He made

the supreme sacrifice on

Good Friday how


;

He

reachieved divinity (Phil. ii:9) through all his service of love for us loveless men; how He rose again and

opened the gate of everlasting life for us on Easter; how He completed the return process of excamation at the Ascension.

any provincial theology, though imbedded in some of our services why not treat it as we treat the Fourth
to

As

Commandment. Though clad in Hebrew clothes, we mentally say we mean the Lord's Day, before we ask God
to "incline

it

our hearts to keep this law." I try sometimes to explain the outgrown form try to fill with the new meaning. Often I say of some heterodox
;

form of orthodoxy, pass

it

by

if it

worries you.
:

Then

I direct attention to duties such as these

"Forsake not the

assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is" (Heb. x:25), or more now than then. Come to the church. You need a sabbath for your soul. Enter and try
to feel that

"The Lord

is

in

His Holy temple and

let all

the

earth keep silence before Him." Join in the services of uplift from the world. Frequent the Lord's Table. Invite His
presence, and He enters as Host. And do not forget, before partaking of the most holy food, to join in heart with the minister as he says: "And here we offer and present

unto Thee,

Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a

and living sacrifice unto Thee," that so we may be "made one body with Him, that He may dwell in us, and we in Him." So too in Baptism, "remembering alreasonable, holy

A PEESOJ^AL

COlSTFESSIOlSr

73

ways that Baptism doth represent unto us our profession; which is to follow the example of our Saviour Christ and to be made like unto Him that as He died and rose again for us, so should we who are baptized die from sin and
;

rise again unto righteousness, continually mortifying all our evil and corrupt affections, and daily proceeding in all

virtue and godliness of living." Finally come to our week-day service of silence

hurly-burly of our modem over-strenuous activity for meat and drink, for money and pleasure. ^^Be still and know God." Then I urge a return

Come for rest power needed so much in the


meditation.

and and refreshment and poise and

good old way of living much with the Bible. Give much time to the devout study of the Gospels. See Jesus of Judea till you love Him as teacher and master and
to the

saviour of the world. In

all

ways

cultivate the devout life

that so the peace of God, which passeth all human understanding, may come and abide with you in all the battle

and burden of

life.

Something

like this has been the mes-

sage of a modernist in the pulpit. Truth comes to us in earthen vessels, in codes, creeds,
cults

and

institutions.

The bottom seems

to

be dropping

out of

many

of

them

to-day.

found forms in the past, when the old forms to be obsolete. It is the general spirit of our modern age that is knocking the bottom out of many good old forms. And what are we doing to meet this con-

It has dropped out of the spirit of an epochal age

many

You, very nonchalantly, dismiss the claims of reason, Bible and church, from their seats ^knock the bottom out of them of infallible authorities, If not, what do you give all. Is not this agnosticism? as their unbreakable bottom and so, their authority ? This fair question may be answered in this way.
dition of

many minds?

Speculative reason carries the

mind back

either to a

74

MODEROTSM IN

EELIGIO:^'

or a supreme unreason. I know that it carries back to the former as the First Principle to a Personal Reason God. There are many other ways in

Supreme Reason

which men attain to some belief in some sort of a God. The kinship of God and man is a fundamental fact part of man's nature. So man is by nature a religious being. In the mystic depths of his consciousness there lies, often overlaid and smothered by other interests, the instinct to worship. It depends not upon intellectual proof. That at best gives form to his feeling of God. And that is fun-

damental.
Starting with the speculative attainment what has reason, a God-given faculty to do, but to trace God's footnot only in the laws of nature the laws of the immanent divine but also in the history of mankind, especially in that of all educative institutions through
steps,

which the process of the progress of the race has gone on ? How have these institutions served their function of promoting the welfare of the race ? First, how has any one of them say the church done this in ages past and then how is it doing this now ? Its authority rests on our answer to that. The vital faith once delivered in Judea has been

given afresh time after time. Can we not trace a continuity rather than an identity in these various forms ? Why seek
for identity. Life grows.

Nothing living

is

ever identical with

its past.

''The old order changeth, yielding place to new; And God fulfils himself in many ways Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.'*
It is possible to trace continuity

and progress in the

process.

The

necessity for institutions can easily be demonstrated.

A
So
too,

PEESOJSTAL CO:t^rESSIOIT

75

can the necessity of their changing, unless they


in

perish

ceasing

to

fulfil

their
rot.

functions.

An

in-

stitution

may

rise, ripen,

and

church, and state have always had cover even from a state that seems like rottenness.
are jure divino.

those of family, sufficient vitality to re-

But

They
chang-

They minister

to the welfare of the race.


all their

That gives them their rightful authority in

ing forms. Is not that sufficient ? The wise man accepts the whole historic process of an institution in the historical spirit and in the spirit of
the Fifth
labor to

Commandment. But at the same time he will make that institution function for present needs

fully as well as it did for those of other times and conditions. He will be an enlightened modernist. This is the way people treat their political institutions ; the wise way

the English people treat their Common Law, full as it is, of obsolete customs, anachronisms and defects. It is the

wise

A vastly larger knowledge of the history of both


and
state has

way

for Christians to treat their church.

church
are

been attained in modern times.


?

How

we

to interpret this history to-day

that of a blind, purposeless physical evolution, possible and that of the progressive revelation of God made to man,
as he discovers

Two

interpretations are

His

footprints.

This

is

a question for

philosophy, a question between idealists and materialists.

"A

fire

mist and a planet,

and a cell, A jelly fish and a saurian, And caves where cave men dwell Then a sense of law and beauty, And a face turned from the clod,
crystal

Some

call it

And

Evolution, others call it God.'*

76

MODERNISM IN RELIGION
"A man's
a

man

for

a'

that''

a man

in spite of his

His upward look has made it an ascent. He traces his true descent from God. He is being made after His image and likeness, through the education and training of His institutions. Any institution is what
descent from a beast
it

has become.

Its authority at

any time

is

that of minis-

trant service.
tion

This conception forbids both the reaJB&rma-

and the denial of its past. It forbids any uncritical acceptance of past forms of life as final and authoritative, as well as the undue glorification of the present stage of the
institution.

Every

institution that grows is as full of the

laden with the past. But the golden age is in the future, not in the past, or presents The Gospel transcends the law fulfils it. But truth is not given like a shot out of a pistol. It is done into man through moralizfuture as
it is

ing institutions. The Ten Commandments had been thus worked into the social experience of men before they were given out on Mount Sinai. Thus the Lord had said for
ages.

them

for the good of mankind. That gave their authority. Most modernists are wise enough to

They were

accept an institution laden with its past. Some are otherwise. But such are really belated denizens of the "vulgar

rationalism of the Eighteenth Century." Then reason, Bible, and church were conceived of in static form. Then

reason became iconoclastic.

development of institutions.
cized.

There was no conception of They were mercilessly criti-

The hisCriticism was decidedly destructive. torical method frees one from such iconoclasm. It restores
appreciation and authority to human institutions in spite of their patent defects. It is this spirit that appreciates the whole history of the church, and of the Bible and gives

them their proper authority. "Thus saith the Lord," has been continuous with

devel-

PEESOISTAL COISTFESSIO:^

Y7

oping forms, as

men have been


to them.

able to discover

more and

more of His revelation

further can a modernist say on fundamental Christian conceptions? Let me mention briefly a few of

What

That was the the points. God "What is God like form of the question blurted out by a wounded officer to whom an army chaplain was ministering a cry from the
!

depth of an anguished soul.

CHAPTER VI
WHAT
!

IS

GOD LIKE ?

GOD
We

Back of the names wherewith men of all religions have named Him, there has been the feeling of the unnamable One. name God as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. But
dares
is

Who

name Him ?

even in the creeds there

a hint that this

is

only the

way

we know Him

the

way we have

discovered

Him

through

His revelation of Himself to us. We cannot say that this exhausts the fullness of His being. Philosophy has worked on this question and answered, in Eastern speculation, the One is the impersonal, unnamable substance of all things, giving an impersonal pantheism. In Western speculation,
has answered. He is the personal Subject, the transcendant eternal Thought or Self-consciousness, in whose very nature lies the self-necessitated motive to continuous
it

creation and relevation.


trine of

This gives two things (1) a docSelf-

His triune nature, from the analysis of His

consciousness, preparing the way for the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and (2) a doctrine of the divine

immanence.
cal

But the Absolute of philosophy is not identiwith the God of religion. Religion is quite secondarily
It reaches

intellectual.

and touches God in quite other

ways.

The
by

religious ways of knowing God can be vindicated a theory of religious knowledge as valid as that of the

speculative way. But this is beyond our present purpose. What is God like? asks the religious mind. What mental

image can we make of

Him ? Some
78

sort of

knowledge

is

WHAT

IS

GOD LIKE?

79

This is folimplicit in the simplest religious experience. lowed through a long course of experience till knowledge
transcended in the mystical vision of the pure in heart and in mystical union with Him. But the religious mind cannot live without trying to form an answer to the ques^^What is God like ?" Generally it works, like other tion
is
:

forms of knowledge, in the realm of relativity

of picture thoughts, of frozen metaphors, of stereotyped general con;

Let it be granted ceptions, whence proceed its dogmas. that this sort of knowledge is inadequate to the rich experience of

God

that comes in other

and more

vital

ways

to

the heart and mind.

Take the

God

that religious relation as a part of the full nature of

which binds man as man.

man

to

Grant,

then, that man's thought about God is conditioned by his stage of culture at any given time, and we can trace a growth in the spirituality and intellectuality of the conLet us grant that ception of God in all vital religions.

the religious mind is naturally anthropomorphic, not forThen we getting the theomorphic side of man's nature.

may

say that an honest, just, merciful. Fatherly God, is the noblest work of thinking man. The second commandment forbids the making of any graven image or likeness of God. But mental images the
religious

mind must make, always does make.

Anthropo-

morphic conceptions always contain a si^per-anthropomorphic element. Even the graven image of the idolater is
always more than the image. It contains a super-iraage worth for him. Again, along with the mental process of

making God in the likeness of man, there goes the process of making Him out of the likeness of man; the process
,

of de-anthropomorphizing his mental picture of God, as he proceeds in general culture.


in the work-a-day world of practical religion, let us study how we can best conceive God to-day under the

But

80

MODERmsM

m religio:n'

changed conditions of modem culture a convenient term for housing the results of mind's conquests in the last cenThe history of many other religions may be best tury. studied in the light of a gradual purification and elevation of their conceptions of God. So may that of Christianity. It has been going on through the Christian centuries. And we may trace the same process in our own religious conceptions.

That depends upon who we are, and at what period of life and culture we are, at the time of uttering it. Here we may notice the dialectic at work
is

What

God

like?

home. We begin at the conceptions of God held by the most superstitious heathen and follow along through the higher forms of the world-religions, criticizing and
at

refusing to accept any of their conceptions of God as adequate or worthy. We continue the examination of the

Christian conception of

God

in different epochs of time

and

culture, still criticizing current conceptions.

We criti-

cize the conceptions of tians about us have.

God

that

many

of our fellow Chris-

ing our

itself in

We find every phase of heresy repeatcommon conceptions of God. We criticize

own conceptions. From the mother's knee to the dying couch we are transforming or replacing imperfect conceptions about God by more worthy ones. We acknowledge
that our highest conception only faintly adumbrates and suggests the inexpressible Infinite and Absolute.

same holy spirit in us, urging on to a wider vision, up loftier mounts and into deeper communion. It is the same spirit co-working with our spirit, as we realize the imperfection of our attainment and
it is

With good men

the

expression of spiritual knowledge. Iconoclastic criticism of outworn conceptions is a perfectly normal activity. So, too, is the further work of replacing them by new ones
that are

more in touch with current conceptions in other


This
is

departments of mental activity.

true in other fields

WHAT
of
tiiouglit.

IS
and

GOD LIKE?

81

Fairy

tale

folk-lore give the child its con-

Dogmatic teaching of history transforms them. Poetry and works of the higher imagination carry these outgrown conceptions into higher and
ceptions of history at
first.

wider vision.

The

child's conceptions of earth,

and

sky,

and sea are

transformed and widened by the study of the exact sciences. Again, mechanical conceptions employed in these sciences are seen to he as mythological as those of religions, as "the fantastic exaggerations of an incomplete perception"
as the idols of a groundless metaphysic, useful but not final (Comte). It is all a matter of psychology.

(Mach) or

I was a child, I understood as a child, I spake as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things." The whole process is the way
the

"When

mind works.

Let any one recall the conception of God that he had at five years of age, then that at ten, then that of his teens, then that of early manhood, and so on till mature age. How his conception, his mental image, of God has changed. We may smile as we recall our early and vital ones. But they were upward steps of the spirit. Some minds cling to those given and formed in the catechetical period. Others break them up in a skeptical period, and declining the
further task of forming new and better ones, remain at the skeptical point for the rest of their lives. Earnest
souls hear the impelling cry, "Thou hast destroyed it. Build it again." Earnest souls go on and upward, idealizing old forms, tacitly stripping them of their grosser im-

more worthy ones are formed. God as "an exaggerated man," exaggerated by attaching the attribute of inport
till

finity to

human

attributes, serves for a standpoint for a

while.

we human
till

driving us on, can no longer give any meaning to such infinitized conceptions. We cannot ascribe literal eyes or ears
greater

But "the

Me

in

me" keeps

82

MODERNISM IN EELIGION
attributes.

or wrath to God.

human

He He

is is

above and more than any such a living God, "in whom we live

and move and have our being," no longer wholly a separate object. Laplace was right when he said that he had swept the heavens with his telescope and found no such So we become object among or above the other objects. symbolists as regards our picture conceptions of what God is like. They still suggest and urge farther on till our dying hour. But if we are earnest souls, we find no cause
of agnostic skepticism.

We see

God

darkly,

it

may

be,

but

we have felt His unspeakable presence, and we have formed


the best possible conceptions of Him that nourish our souls. Around us and in us lives a greater than us. But then we should have to validate the conceptions of

people in all religions. Yes surely in those of the Greeks and Persians, and others, as well as those of early Jews. Christianity need not be envious. Our God is not. The
!

self-same spirit has been co-working with all His human children in all stages of culture in every age of the world.

forms of experience, God has been making revelation of Himself to them. Sub-

Any

other view

is

skeptical.
is

In

all

jectively,

revelation

devout mature God has been changed by his enlarging experience. A great bereavement or a great joy comes to him, and his idea of God is enlarged. A Lisbon earthquake or an Oriental famine sword and pestilence the unthinkable horrors of a great war, all the experiences he lives through, or even
; ;

Take a a process of discovery. Christian. Let him trace how his idea of

only hears of
is like.

all

His God

these change his conception of what God is enlarged to take in all his experience.

always given sometimes in our feeling of dependence, sometimes in the sense of the infinite, sometimes in the mystic sense of His presence in us and encompassing
is

God

us.

"The hound of

heaven'^ follows us

WHAT
4

IS

GOD LIKE

83

"With unhurrying chase

And
3|E

unperturbed pace.
9p
9|E
SJ?

^p

Halts by me that footfall: Is my gloom, after all, Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?

Ah, fondest,
I

am He

blindest, weakest, whom thou seekest.

Thou

dravest love from thee,

who

dravest Me."

But is this all that a Christian can say ? We may say that God reveals Himself through one's experiences in life. But I am a social being. God reveals himself through
others; not only through the experience of the race

and

through our social experience, but through the great light that shines through great and holy men. To see the peace and joy, the calm and the energy in some good man, is to have a vision of v^hat God is like. That v^as the impression Jesus made upon his disciples in Judea and upon his
disciples in all countries To see Jesus is to see

and ages. what God

is like.

He was

like

God God
:

incarnate in
^'I,

human

limitations.

and

my

form, and under all human Father are one,'' and may all

these be one in us, "as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee." That was his abiding consciousness and his constant prayer. best see what

In the

life,

character and work of Jesus,

we

God

is like.

Here conception

more concrete perception. See God Jesus of Nazareth, and it becomes an abiding and an ineffaceable likeness of God, with all its natural and logical implications of his pre-incarnate "form of God" and of
his post-incarnate life with the Father.

replaced by in the ineffable face of

is

"He

that hath

seen me, hath seen the Father." Any earnest man who cannot rise to the speculative knowledge of God as the triune absolute, nay, all men can

84

MODERNISM IN RELIGION
what God
is like.

best see in Jesus

many

of our conceptions of God. Jesus "the white man" of the doughboys the perfect man, they will bow the knee. Back to Jesus for our re-

Skeptics may ridicule But before the face of

back to Him for our best conception of what God is like. See His face and live His life as He manifestly intended that His disciples should do. That is the best subligion,

stance of the matter.

And

that

is

the

work in which mod-

and intensely interested. See the face of Jesus! But which face of Him, you may rightly ask. There have been so many portraits ofernists in religion are earnestly

fered during the different ages of the church. He has become a veritable protean Christ. The old sea god Proteus changed his forms in order to elude his pursuing suppliants.

Not

so Jesus.

Though He did thus

''appear in

another form" to His disciples after his resurrection, it was always for the purpose of self-rev elation in a higher but real form. The other protean forms have been made

by men, as they have seen Him with vision distorted by their temporary world-views. The Jewish Messiah was the first portrait. The Greek Logos was the next; then Christ as a ransom to the devil then Christ as a satisfaction to the injured honor of God; then as a propitiation to an angry Deity. Then the Christ as vindictive judge, as painted by Michelangelo on the wall above the altar in the Sistine chapel, devoid of beauty and tenderness and all winning and consolatory aspects a Christ to be feared. Then we have the Christ of romance and the effeminate
;

Christ; pictures of the ethical Christ; Christ as a great man; as the highest ethical man; Christ as high priest;

Christ as king and finally Christ as "prisoner of the tabernacle," the reserved materials of his memorial feast, wor;

Some feature shiped by many as an idol is worshiped. of the face they all have caught but how many they have The words of Isaiah may rightly be recalled blurred.

WHAT

IS

GOD LIKE
:

85

as most applicable to tliem all "His visage more than that of any man, and his form

was so marred, more than the

sons of
little

men"

(Isaiah lii:14).

"Our

little

systems," men's

Christ,

"They have their day and cease to be: They are but broken lights of Thee, And thou, Lord, art more than they/'
Christ the many-named, and yet no

name Him, who

is

name adequate to "above every name that is named."

And

this is the impression

He

makes on any fair-minded

student of the Gospel narratives who can see the local color given by the Jewish disciples some forty years after his leaving the earth. It is a universal human face. It surpasses all his painters in color or in words. The man surpasses all his biographers and they never tell the full story

even the Evangelists. They interpreted Him in their own dialect as a Jewish Messiah. The manysidednesses of Jesus helps to account for the many varying
of his life
^not

The other explanatory portraits of the universal man. factor is the simple psychological fact that the mind receives the

apperceive, the whole with an already preformed organ of perception

new

in the

web

of old views.

Men

of their mental preconceptions and grooves of thought. An old legend says: painter came to Jesus whilst

in the midst of the crowd and endeavored to portray Him, but failed because of the infinite way the expression of the face changed. It reflected constantly the faces

He was

of those in the crowd

who had need

of

Him, and was not


Jesus, therefore,

one face so

much

as five thousand in one.

took a towel and pressed it to His face, saying, "The portrait of Christ may not be drawn by hands lest at any

should be said this and this only was Christ." And He gave to the painter the miraculous likeness imprinted on the towel, and then the further blessing "Thou

time

it

86

MODERmSM

m EELIGION^

couldst not paint my face, for the reflection there of the face of the common man. Behold, henceforth, thou shalt not attempt to paint the face of any common man, but

thou shalt find

my

face there also/'

Modernists may well study all the portraits of the Master. In many of them they will find lineaments of a
face that inspires, uplifts, consoles, and energizes. In some of them they will see abhorrent and distorted features.

One
to

of these

is

that of Christ as a propitiatory sacrifice

an outraged God an attempt to explain how God is reconciled to man, instead of the truth that "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.'' This repellent view still lingers in the formulas and symbols of many churches that have outgrown literalism and take it

But the symbolism is that of paganism symbolically. rather than even that of Judaism. And, at first, it was
all

was what an English Archbishop calls "a reversion to the worst ideas of pagan sacrifice, savoring of the heathen temple and reeking with blood." Jesus Himself never thus conceived of Himself.
taken in
all its

crude literalism.

It

Paganism painted this portrait of an unworthy abhorrent Christ. The Rev. S. D. McConnell styles it ^^the inhuman ^ and makes trenchant criticism of this pagan Christ," portrait that still hovers as a symbol in our dogmas and
liturgies.

What

truth and any of the spirit of self-sacrifice for the good of others. That was the spirit of the Master culminating in His death on

gives its phraseology any semblance of vitality for Christian nurture is the truth

become the most vital symbol of this spirit. That is the spirit of the Master that always wins. That is the spirit in saints and heroes, that we inthe cross.
cross has

The

He gave his life stinctively say is divine. He died for me for his country! The cross-bearing of the Master, the that may well be called the heart sacrifice of love for men
!

"Christ."

S.

D. McConnell.

Macmillans, 1904.

WHAT

IS

GOD LIKE?

87

of the Gospel ; that may show us the heart of the Father. *'God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son." In the cross of Christ all Christians glory. His
cross,

His

spirit of self-sacrifice
all

has been the consolation

and the incentive of


dolorosa.

those called

upon
/

to tread the via

any wonder, then, that you ask, which face of Jesus must we see to see what God is like ? Is there not a more genuine one ? Is it any wonder that modernists are saying, "Back to Jesus of Nazareth.'' Back to the vision of his
Is
it

face as depicted by loving disciples, in their oral traditions; in their memorabilia written for propaganda purbetter back through them to the Master, more clearly seen by the aid of modem Biblical criticism. God is like this Jesus in all his ethical and spiritual characterisposes.
tics.

But

Other faces of

Him

are partial,

some of them

caricatures. It is Christ as a divine official that is given in all the theological theories of the atonement and "plans of sal-

Modernists feel that the theological Christ does not give us so winsome a Christ as the one portrayed in
vation.''

There we find scarcely a trace of officialism. That began with the writers of the Epistles, and developed through the thought of the Greeks and the political lives of the Romans. Our world-view is different from both of
the Gospels.
these.

priori speculations are supplanted

and pragmatic methods. Imperialism is democracy. We would fain have modern conceptions for our setting of Jesus of Nazareth. The traditional and largely the conventional portraits of the Master blur the sweet image of his face and deaden the tenderness of his touch, by a mechanical officialism that was far from his mind. "Sir! we would see Jesus," disrobed of the officialism of the theological

by inductive supplanted by

Him

by men

of other world-views.

machinery super-imposed upon We would see Him

88
clad in

MODEEOTSM

IltsT

KELIGIOISr

modern raiment, speaking to our day as He spoke so freely to the people of His own day on earth. That, at least, is the program of modernists to see that face as kith and kin with themselves and as kith and kin

with God. Jesus was

Judaized, then Hellenized and scholasticized into theologies. Jesus has been sacerdotalized into
first

a magic worker.

Jesus has been officialized into a

new

Historical and critical investigations show law-giver. how all of these forms that mark His face originated, and how much they have availed and still avail in keeping up

homage to Him. They do not avail with most modernists. The fresh, vivid and inspiring portrait they find beneath all these marring portraits of Him. They would
unbecoming and outworn garments. They would see Him in the vesture He really wore on earth; see Him working for the Kingdom of God on earth, rising in spirit above those Judaic garments and
see Jesus disrobed of these
limitations, into a universal

human view

of this

Kingdom.

And

yet they are not pessimistic enough to read church history as a history of decline.

They acknowledge how the


tical

sacerdotalized and ecclesias-

form carried the Gospel through the dark and the middle ages, and how much the doctrinal form carried it through these ages and through Keformation times. They would not raze those old forms to the earth. They would keep them for those whom they would still serve as ministrant to their religious needs. They would modernize them as much as possible, and would build an additional form in
keeping with the old architecture, but
fitted

with

modem

conveniences; form a new convolution to the growing all as means to nautilus, a new layer to the old trunk

make

more ministrant to the ture of people of the modern world-view.


the old church

religious nur-

Again, one of the most impressive lines in our early

WHAT
childhood's picture of

IS

GOD LIKE?

89

what God is like was that of His This was a Jewish physical conception, all-mightiness. long regnant in Christian theology and largely displacing the distinctively Christian and ethical conception of a
Father's love.

could do anything and everything. But mere might or potency is not an ethical attribute. To-day Christians

God

have progressed out of Judaism enough to replace that conception with that of Christ's conception of lo've, in
thinking of what God is like. Almightiness has passed away as being the chief attribute of God. Then as to the extent of the physical universe. Imaginations palls in attempt to conceive of its immensity, its boundlessness as revealed through the use of the telescope.

The starry world bounded by the vault of heaven. vault of heaven bounded the universe of one sun, one moon, and many stars, that constituted the universe of the anThe
cients.

But

there

is

no bound

to that of

modern men.

It is boundless.

So, too, has the conception of His creative action been lengthened immeasurably in time and space. His crea-

tion "out of nothing" at any definite time is replaced with the conception of His continuous creation. "My Father

worketh hitherto." The outering of Himself in creation has been an eternal process, motived, self-necessitated by His nature as Love. Creation is a process to and from that. "The whole creation ( KTlais ) groaneth and travailin birth and life process. The divine is imeth in pain" manent and working in it all; immanent but not limited by His time and space universe. But this divine immanence is of a piece with, and of the same substance as. His divine transcendence. ]N'ature is more than His garment. Nature is His dwelling place with us men. In dis-

covering

its

laws,

we

are thinking His thoughts after

Him.

90

MODERNISM

m RELIGIO:Nr
creation.

We

find unity, order, purpose and progress in it, and thus lose the need or the desire for any abstract supernatural

interference with

His own laws of

He

is

not

the absentee
thought.

God

of the deist or of

much popular
in

Christian

All that has passed

away

modern thought and

knowledge.

He
Mundi)
^'
.
.

is
:

more than the great world-soul more than Goethe's earth spirit:

(Animus
by.''

.at the roaring loom of time I ply, And weave for God the garment thou seest him
is

He

more than God

of time and space, who The universe is the utterance, the outerance of Himself

visualized, cast upon the screen Himself is timeless and spaceless.

in creation and in the process of His immanent selfThat on revelation in the historical experiences of men.

the part of

men

is

a process of gradual discovery, from


till

partial to fuller Jesus.

form

we

see

His face

in the face of

The

folk-lore story of creation of the


it

book of Genesis

and the cosmology founded on

and regnant through many

Christian ages, has finally passed away through the warfare of science with theology. Many of us are old enough to remember the bitter warfare made on science in behalf
of that old view.

and much in the same way, has passed the old view of the creation of man. "Out of the dust of

Along with

this

beginnings of life in the protoplasm, up through forms of life the ascent of the animal into the first form of pithecanthropos (some
the earth"
is still

true.

Out of the

first

hundred thousand years ago) up

to the Heidelberg race

(250,000 years ago) up to the homo sapiens of Asia (some 25,000 years ago)^ upward has been the process of man's

Cf "Men of the Old Stone Age," by Henry F. Osborn.


.

WHAT
creation, of

IS

GOD LIKE?

91

man's ascent into his present form. Some call it evolution and the struggle for existence, some call it God and the ascent of animal life. Why should we continue to think and talk in terms of what is clearly seen to be folk-lore rather than science?

Man

has thus come thus far in being "created in the

image and likeness of God.'' That is the archetypal idea. And the end is not yet. His creation and man's ascent still go on, "till we all come unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Eph. iv, 13), the generic man, the fully created man. But why do we not come to this more rapir^Iy? Here comes the old enigma, the old discord of sin. I know no
better theological definition of

Westminster

Shorter

than that given in the Catechism: "Sin is any want


it

of conformity unto, or transgTession of the law of God," as I know no better answer to its first question, "what is the
chief end of

man?"

"Man's chief end

and

to enjoy

Him
is

forever."

to glorify God God's service is his perfect


is

freedom.
positive.

Sin
It is

not merely privative, a negation. It is not merely the state of man in the lower

It is a state of man's consciousness. stage of evolution. And of all proposed solutions there is none better than that

which attributes
feeling of guilt.

it

to

man's freedom of

will.

Hence the

the struggle with the patent damnably positive effects of sin. It comes not with a mythical fall of the first Adam. It comes rather with a sense of broken unity with God. It is not a positive in-

Hence

heritance of total depravity. of himself as he ought to be.


the face of Jesus.

comes with man's vision It culminates as he looks on


It

Simon Peter
sinful

cried out:

"Depart from

me

for I

am

Lord" (Luke v. 8). Jesus did not depart from him. But Peter did forsake all and followed Him. Publicans and sinners did not flee His face. "This man

man,

92

MODERNISM IN

RELIGIOltT

eateth with sinners,"


self-righteous

was tlie complaint of the complacently churchman of his day. Before the face of

Jesus the sting of sin is ameliorated into the sense of shame, so gentle is He in all His non-lordly attitude toward sinners. The blush on the face of Peter, and the blush on the face of the woman taken in adultery show how the
sense of sin became a sense of
Jesus.

shame before the face of


sin,

Brutes do not have the sense of

the sting of

conscious guilt.

As Walt Whitman

sings:

is

^^They do not sweat and whine about their condition. They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins, They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God ;

Not one

is dissatisfied,

not one

demented.^'

the modernist conception of salvation and how it is effected has little in common with theological theories.

Then

Salvation means the getting of the mind of the Master into one's soul; into the corporate souls of all God's children.
the spirit of Jesus, the spirit of selfsacrifice, the spirit of service, just so far are we saved here, and just so far we shall be saved when we pass
as

So far

we have

Saved from our sins rather than from future punishment! Saved through gazing on the face of Jesus and being transformed into His image as we His love for us gaze in passionate adoration upon it. begets love for Him, and we go onward in His spirit of service to our fellows. We become like the one we love. We become reconciled to Grod through Him. God needs no reconciliating offering from man. Why not let the old
into the

Kingdom

above.

theories go ? Son as the simple

Why

not take eTesus' parable of the Prodigal and sufficient "plan of salvation ?'' The

blush of shame on the face of the self-banished returning son, and the Father's yearning heart going forth to wel-

come him
/

That

is all.

WHAT

IS

GOD LIKE?

93

Mr. W. E. H. Lecky, standing outside of any church, gives the following judgment of a historian as to the in"It was reserved for Christianity to fluence of Jesus: present to the world an ideal character, which through
all

the changes of eighteen centuries has filled the hearts

impassioned love; and has shown itself capable of acting on all ages, nations, temperaments, and conditions; and has not only been the highest pattern of virtue, but the highest incentive to its practice; and has exerted so deep an influence that it may be truly said
of
that the simple record of three short years of active life has done more to regenerate and soften mankind than

men with an

the disquisitions of philosophers, and than all the exhortations of moralists. This has been the wellspring
all

of whatever

and purest in the Christian life. Amid all the sins and failings, amid all the priestcraft, the persecution and fanaticism which have defaced the church, it has preserved in the character and example of its Founder an enduring principle of regeneration."
is

best

Charles
ter the
enter,

Lamb

once said:

room we should all every one would kneel."

"If Shakespeare should enrise: if Jesus Christ should

Modernists do not stop with Jesus of the Gospels. Their appeal is also to the Jesus of the experience of his disciples
to-day, as well as that of those in other days. They do not stop with His perfect humanity, as their experience leads them on to confess his divinity. But they do this in

other than speculative ways. They will never be able they do not wish it to form a purely speculative creed like the Athanasian one. They are first of all resolute in their

neglected and the much needed emphasis on the perfect humanity of their blessed Lord and Master, as being sympathetic, touched with a feeling of our infirmities, because of His own human experiinsistence on putting the
ence.

much

Many

clergymen say the

ISTicene phrase,

"and was

94

MODERNISM IN RELIGION
really believing
it.

They teach that the real person of Jesus was God, veiled, masqued under human form; that he was at all times omnipotent and
This they do under the abstract conception of the total dissimilarity of the divine and the human, denying their kith and kinship, which alone makes the inomniscient.

made man" without

carnation thinkable.
is

Jesus never claimed the om?i{-attributes. Omm-potence not an ethical attribute. Jesus was ethical and did not
it

need

to be a revealer of God's character.

Yes, Jesus?
their

we must go back to Jesus for salvation. To which To Jesus of the Evangelists; to their traditions, memories, more or less idealized in their way more
;

are to go or less blurred from our point of view. back to their traditions, and then through them, and see

We

Him

with our modern eyes. We are to see all of the New Testament books with the

interpreting and instructive results of the Higher Criticism. But we are told that the church is prior to the New

Testament; that it was written by the church, and must be interpreted by the church that the church has "sealed So some are barkening back to the preorders'' about it. reformation "bound Bible" theory. It is true that Christian communities and churches had come into existence some years before the Gospels were written. There was no The Church then, but only churches, or rather Christian communities. Moreover, they were founded on the oral Gospel, which was prior to, and creative of them. There is one sense in which it is true that the church gave the New Testament. There were many inspiring Christian books written and used by Christians besides those contained in our New Testament. It was not till the Council of Carthage (A. D. 397) that a selection was made and canonized. Most of the others have been lost. Some of them may have been as good as, or even better than, some
;

WHAT
that were canonized.

IS

GOD LIKE?

95

of

Thus the Didache, or the Teaching the Twelve Apostles, discovered in 1875 and written

about 130 A. D., might well have taken the place of the Epistle of St. James, which Luther stigmatized as an It is written much in the same vein ^^Epistle of Straw." that is from the point of view of a Christian Jew,

or a Jewish Christian.
"sealed orders" to prevent the free scholarly research and interpretation of any sacred literature. So we go to the New Testament with modern eyes.

The church has no

CHAPTER

VII

MODERN BIBLICAL CEITICISM


means skilled judgment on the merits In literature it means an impartial

inquiry into the origin, history, authenticity and character of any piece of literature. It is not captious, censorious and fault-finding but a constructive

CRITICISM and a scholarly


estimate.

of a case.

Its

aim

is

that

of

rather than of depreciation. The Bible is or a collection of pieces of the sacred literature of the

appreciation the literature

Jews and the early

Christians.

It is a record of the
;

religious experience of many men in many ages of their discovery of the revelation of the divine in and through

the human.

the word
done.

It is primarily a religious work. It contains It might be of God as canonized, A. D. 397.

added to or subtracted from.

But

this will never be

and
kind

It stands as completed as do the works of Homer As literature it is subject to the same Plutarch. of criticism as is applied to the Iliad or to the sacred

books of any other religion. This criticism has reached quite a fairly unanimous agreement, as to the questions of authorship, authenticity and dates as regards the various books of the New TestaCriticism also concerns itself with the question ment.
of what the books contain
that content to
ten.

what was the true meaning of those for whom they were primarily writ;

matter of interpretation, the question of the The Personality of Jesus becomes of supreme interest.
this

In

96

MODEElSr BIBLICAL CKITICISM

97

Person of Jesus of ISTazareth as portrayed in tlie Gospels that is the main question of the day for criticism and

the

main interest for Christians. First came the critical study of the

books of the Bible

an examination

text of the various

of the different

manu-

scripts and versions in order to discover the original text, or at least to establish the most accurate text possible. This is styled the Lower Criticism, When literary criti-

was styled the Higher Criticism to distinguish it from the former. There is nothing arrogant or obnoxious in the term higher, though literary would be a better term to use. It is simply one form of Bible study. Its work is done in the historical spirit. We must know how the literature grew in order to understand it, and to
cism began
it

It get the true, i.e., the historical interpretation of it. asks, what are the times, places, the circumstances, the

object and the author's point of view in regard to each book. Is Job a drama ? Is the predictive element the chief one in the Prophets ? Are the books traditionally ascribed
to

Moses and those of the Gospels


record
?

istic

If

so,

how

chiefly matters of annalfar are these annals correct ? What

was the author and what was his purpose ? How much did he owe to his predecessors, and how much was his own work molded and colored by the
sort of a person

current world-view of his time?

What

light does the

comparative study of other sacred books afford? What further light is given by the new psychology and by These are some of the questions to science in general? which answers are sought by the literary criticism of the books of the Book. The work is constructive, and aims at giving us a more It living book, even for the purpose of devotional use. gives us a new Bible, rescued from the fetters of tradition,

and from the


put upon
it

by

fetters of infallibility fetters arbitrarily Protestant teachers at the Eeformation, for

98

MODERNISM

m EELIGIOJST

a practical purpose? That practical purpose, at a time when it was thought that an infallible authority of some kind was necessary, was its only justification. And what

unnecessary work and worry it caused for three centuries! Arduous and ardent has been the study required and given by the holders of this idea of the Bible even greater and fully as disinterested as that expended by
a
lot of

the

modern

critics.

They had
;

to maintain the
;

Mosaic

authorship of the first five books of the Bible the literary integrity of the book of Isaiah the equal inspiration and authority of a verse in the book of Leviticus with a verse in the Gospels. They had to work at the impossible task of constructing a harmony out of conflicting accounts in
the four Gospel narratives. God fearing and scholarly were those men, only spending their labor in vain.
the worry this theory has caused countless multitudes of devout souls, hearing all the criticisms put upon it

Then

by friend or

Think of the worry caused them by a book like that of Robert G. Ingersoll's "The Mistakes of Moses." Such a book could not be written to-day. If it were it would appear as the product of a belated intellifoe.

gence.

need not stop to give the generally accepted results of the literary criticism of the Old Testament. Suffice
that Bibliolatry of the Old Testament, that extravagant and uncritical devotion to it as literally the
it

We

to say,

Word

of God, apart from any scientific estimate of its contents, is now a thing of the past. Our interest is chiefly with regard to the New Testament

literature.

not open to the same sort of study that we should give, say, to the Koran the sacred Book If not, why not? No negative of the Mohammedans?
Is
it

answer

is

possible.

The

devotional use of

it

under the

traditional view of its infallibility throughout, gives a temporary call to halt. But when the critical work is

moder:n' biblical ckiticism


done, devout souls will find a taining a livelier word of God.
less

99

new

INTew Testament, con-

worry they

will be freed

From what a host of needFrom the ineptitude of an

indiscriminate use of proof -texts; from stretching and straining of the Scriptures to form a harmony between
its

various parts

faulty texts,

from the burden of obscure passages and and from many other troublesome questions
;

their souls will find rest

modern eyes, preted 'New Testament and as containing the lively word of the living God. The Gospels are the record of some of the words and
works of Jesus. How much more we should like to have of these words and works We read in the Gospel according to St. John: ^'And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written, every one, I suppose that even the world itself could
!

rest to enjoy the to read it all with

newly

inter-

not contain the books that should be written."

St.

John

meant
that
is

this as
fact.

an hyperbole of what we know must have

been the

The four Gospels contain


life

known of the Besides this, we have


;

and teaching and

practically all work of Jesus.

the historical books of the Acts of the

Apostles and the Epistles, which give us the preaching of the Apostles the proclaiming the Gospel message the im;

had made upon them and how they thought it mighty to save men. Literary criticism has the revised Greek text to work upon. This revised Greek text has been the work of the
pression
it

Lower Criticism

On

in its study of the early manuscripts. the basis of this study it leaves out of our version

the following passages: St. Mark xvi. 9-20 and St. viii. 1-12. It also brackets St. Luke xxii. 43-4; St.
V. 3-4,

John John

and

St.

Matthew

xvi. 2-3.

or the literary criticism begins with the study of the authenticity and genuineness of the books of the New Testament. As regards the Fourth Gospel it finds

The Higher

100

MODERNISM

IJST

EELIGION

the authorship of it to be doubtful. But it at least gives us the impression of a loving disciple as to what Jesus said
Practically we have all four of our Gospels left as authoritative narratives, though only the first three are

and

did.

generally quoted by most critics. Here I venture to summarize the general results of the I have not been able to find literary Biblical criticism.

such a summary. Mine is made without any scholarly study of the subject, but I think that it states fairly the
general view. The first half of the Old Testament, Job, is regarded as a national history.
acles

up

to the

book of

It contains mir-

more than
X. 13.

incredible,

such as that contained in


still

and the moon stayed until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies," that of raising the iron ax-head from the river of Jordan (II Kings, vi. 6) not to mention many others.
Joshua
*^The sun stood

very low anthropomorphic conceptions of God, not much above that of some contemporary forms of paganism. It puts a "Thus saith the Lord," before commands that we now esteem immoral. Let any one read this part of the Old Testament carefully and then ask
It

contains

how he must estimate it in view of the New Testament. But from Job onward, we have men of vision preachers
;

of righteousness in a lofty sense; uttering the voice of the Lord much more in accordance with New Testament

Our elders did not gi^eatly err in holding conceptions. that they found the Gospel in the Prophets. When we come to the New Testament we likewise find
about a third part of it to be a history or a biography of Jesus of Nazareth, and the latter part to consist in the
utterances of those
or preached in his name. It is the biographical and historical part that here The question is how far this part is hisinterests us.

who prophesied

MODEKN BIBLICAL CEmCiSM


torical

'

101

and biographical in our sense of these terms. Here the historical method must be used, just as we use it
like parts of

when studying
ments.

any other

religious docu-

begin with the theory of an oral Gospel, held in some form, by all Bible students. This hypothesis, as held
before the growth of

We

modem

Biblical criticism, is as fol-

lows

The Evangelists drew upon a primitive official oral gospel, drawn up by the apostles or by one of them, which, though unwritten, was handed down orally without even verbal change till the time when the Gospels were written.
This theory cannot stand in light of divergencies and discrepancies found in the written Gospels. There are no written Gospels contemporary with the life of Jesus, only those written between the years 70 and 100 A. D. Then they were written in Greek, while Jesus spoke in the Aramaic language. Up to that time the story had been handed on through an oral Gospel, necessarily and evidently much larger than the parts of it recorded for special purposes in our written ones. The New Testament criticism traces the literary evolution of the Gospels out of the traditional and oral form. It was not until about A. D. 70 that the first one, that of St. Mark, was written. The date of St. John's Gospel is All agree that it could not have been still in dispute. earlier than A. D. 100. St. Mark's Gospel is held to give the most exact form of the oral tradition, and the most
vivid and life-like portrait of the Master, though his Gospel seems like a bare transcript of fragmentary sayings and isolated acts of the Master. Later on two great, though

perhaps unconscious artists, trained in the movement, begun by the Master and saturated by His spirit, retell
the tale, idealizing

if

you will

the

picture, but in so

102

]aoi>EEN-iSM IK RELIGIO]^

doing make us realize something of the majesty and tenderness which once men knew in Galilee.^
*I am indebted to Professor Wm. H. P. Hatch of the Episcopal Theological School for this note on the Four Gospels: "We must distinguish carefully between the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel according to St. John. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the 'SjTioptic Gospels' because they have the same general view ( avvo\j/is ). In order to be understood, they must be studied together. The question of the relation of these Gospels to one another is known as the 'Synoptic Problem'; and it is important to note that it is a literary problem. "New Testament scholars are agreed that Mark is the earliest and the most primitive of the Synoptic Gospels. The writer records the words and deeds of Jesus in a fresh and vivid way. Many scholars accept the ancient tradition that Mark is based primarily on the discourses of Peter. The Gospel is generally ascribed to one John, surnamed Mark, who was a companion of Paul and Barnabas and perhaps also of Peter. It was probably written in Rome shortly before or soon after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A. D. "Matthew and Luke are certainlj' later than Mark, for the authors of both used Mark as one of their principal sources. Moreover, the portrait of Jesus in these Gospels is less primitive than that of Mark. An Aramaic source consisting primarily of sayings of Jesus and known to modem scholars as Q (from the German Quelle, source) was employed in the composition of Matthew and Luke. Q may have been in two forms or recensions, one appearing in Matthew and the other in Luke. Some think that Q was also used in the production of Mark. In addition to Mark and Q the author of Luke had certain other sources, Aramaic as well as Greek, at his disMatthew is the work of a Jewish Christian, not of the posal. Apostle Matthew. It is more Jewish in character tlian any of the other Gospels, and was probably written in Syria or Palestine some time during the last two decades of the first century. Luke, which is ascribed in Christian tradition to a companion of Paul, was intended for Gentile readers, the author himself probably being a Gentile. It also was written some time during the years 80-100, but the place of its composition is unknown. "The Fourth Gospel is an interpretation of Jesus rather than a record of His words and deeds. Its point of view is philosophical or theological, and its portrait of Jesus is in certain fundamental respects very different from that found in the Synoptic Gospels. It is traditionally ascribed to the Apostle John, who is believed by many to have lived and taught at Ephesus until about the year 100. The Johannine authorship of the Gospel, however, is fraught with serious The Fourth difficulties, and most scholars have now abandoned it. is a fusion of Palestinian, Pauline, and Hellenistic elements. Gospel It was probably composed at or near Ephesus in the first decade or decade and a half of the second century by some member of the Ephesian circle. If the Apostle John really resided in Ephesus, the Gospel may contain some traditions or ideas that were derived from him."

MODEEN BIBLICAL CEITICISM

103

This gives the stages in the literary evolution of the These Gospels have different aims and there is Gospels. evidently no attempt to present the same events or to follow a common chronology. But for a period of about forty years, the story of the life of Jesus was handed down in oral form. Literary criticism rightly surmises that in this stage there may have been additions and subtractions

and

local colorings given to the materials, before the selec-

were put in writing in nearly the present form of our Gospels. At least it cannot be that an oral story, passed from mouth to ear and thence to other ears, could remain identical or inerrant. We know how rumor grows, how a story thus passed to one, and then handed on to another to repeat, never ends as it began. Give what credit is due to the ability of men in those days to thus transmit a story with verbal literalness, we cannot think that it had inerrancy or lack of diversity. Critics make
tions

allowance for this

when studying the written

Gospels.

They ask what was the historical origin of the Gospels? How did they grow from the oral to the written form? Then, what was the purpose of their authors and what did they really mean to themselves and to those for whom
they were written, always remembering that the common view was that Christ would return to earth before that
generation had passed away. Thus they work their way to the matter of chief interest, that of the personality of
the Master, in the light that shines through the pages of disciples, who never fully understood Him, but did not

was by attributing more value to At least the ^'signs and wonders" than He Himself did. Gospels are not stenographic reports of the words and
exaggerate, unless
it

works of Jesus. What then is the most reliable biography we can get out of them ? These critics have sifted them all to discover just what Jesus was, and what His message was. Then, how it was understood or misunderstood in

104

MODEROTSM

m RELIGIOI^

the primitive community, whicli was eagerly expecting His speedy second coming. The system of a single harmonious
narrative gives place to an attempt to interpret the varying forms of one message. In this interpretation the following conceptions are used. First, a writer can only tell
the story and give the message by means of ideas and conSo we must first try to put ceptions of his own times.
ourselves in his place, see with his eyes and hear with his ears. What is the background of historical traditions ; what

the social and religious customs ; and what the general education of himself and of those for whom he wrote ? Sec-

ondly, we must not think that Jesus meant no more than what the average hearer would understand about His message.

He
last

had

to

speak

much

to

them in

parables.

In His

days He said to His disciples, "I have yet many things to say unto you but ye cannot bear them now." He poured new wine into their old bottles, till they fairly burst and could bear no more. The Master is greater than His biography, oral or written. Then, when a verse
very
or a passage or the account of some of His signs and wonders seems discrepant with other parts of their story, we are to test them by the main tenor of His life and message,

regard them as not authentic. Some such canons of interpretation should be in the mind of every one who seeks to read the Gospels intellielse to

gently.

And

they will relieve

him

of the burden of

many

great difficulties which meet those who read them as literal stenographic reports of what Jeeus said and did. This

reading done, then comes the question as to the Then truest portrait that can be drawn of the Master. the question how His own message can be translated or
critical

stated to us

modems,

as

He

stated

it

to the modernists of

His own day, due allowance being made in both cases for the limitations of both teachers and hearers. These are the burning questions of the day. What re-

MODER]tT BIBLICAL CEITICISM


made

105

translation is to be

was

its first

not into Greek for Greeks, as transformation, but interpretation or transla-

modern terms for people of modem times one perhaps for the Oriental mind and one for our Occidental
tion in

mind.

What modernized portrait can we paint of Jesus ? How shall we modernize His message so as to further His gospel of the Kingdom of God on earth and His work of saving
souls here, as well as hereafter.

think of Christ and His gospel message ? That was the Master's First, what think ye of Christ? own question to His disciples then, and sometimes they answered Him wrongly. That has been His question to

What can we

men

have answered Him imperfectly. It is His question to men of our age, and we must give our best answer, though it cannot come up to the full truth of that which He was. Many men within the church are hungering for some fresh vision of the great light that once shone in Judea, Can the modernas shown in a previously quoted letter. As least they can give a more intelligent ists give it? way to read the original Gospels. They can give some
of every age and
all

new

We

lines for a fresh portrait of the Master, j shall give a fuller statement in considering the

"What think ye of Christ ?" was treated that the question in the papers given in the late Conference of modernists
in the

way

Church of England. Let us, however, give a few


St.

lines here, passing

by such

topics as "the Apocalyptic Christ;" "Jesus or Christ;"

Paul" and other critical questions. The first line would be that of a real incarnation, the Word made flesh the real humanity of Christ with human limi"Jesus or
;

tations, except that of sinfulness ; a man among men, who walked and taught as a great leader. Jesus never claimed

the ea;^ra-human attributes of omnipotence, omniscience

106

MODERmSM

IN religio:n"
And
that

or omnipresence, in his incarnate form. real form in Judea. But the impression

was His He made was that, in all matters moral and religious He was the full and complete revelation; the express image of His Father God. It is true that most modernists rise to the belief in

Christ^s divinity in a different way than I do. They use the inductive and pragmatic methods, which I think lower

than the speculative method. But then these are the methods which appeal most to the modern mind. And they do suffice to reach the same result, i. e., the Divinity of Christ. Give a real human Jesus first. When men receive that, they get the impression that will, in this age, as it did in the primitive age, leads on to that of His divinity.

"Jesus most divine when most

human thou
is

art."

Critics

may

rightly charge

many

teachers with denial

of Christ's real manhood.

His Divinity

a way that denies it. Many with the old heresy of Docetism. That heresy taught that Jesus was only God hidden under a false mask of humanity. God could not suffer. Jesus did not really suffer. Jesus was not really man. There was no real incarnation. All wrong declare the old creeds which say, "And was made
yet many who say these creeds at least under-emphasize the truth of His humanity,

often taught in forms of teaching are dyed

man," "was perfect man."


while to them modernists
real

And

may seem

to

over-emphasize His

humanity. But modernists feel that that is a patent fact in the Gospels, and that that is now as then, the best way to present Jesus to win ardent, loving, loyal disciples who will soon come to worship Him as divine. Jesus was born and lived in lowly circumstances. He increased in wisdom, as well as in stature, and in favor with God, as well as with man. (St. Luke ii. 52.) He worked as a carpenter for
to

many

years.

He

was mightily tempted of the

devil like other

Him, and He

men. These temptations really appealed had to wrestle with them to overcome them.

moder:n' biblical criticism

107

tempted like as we are, yet without sin," thereby becoming an high-priest who conld be touched with a feeling of our This same interpretator infirmities. (Heb. iv. 15.) of the oral Gospel also says that "he learned obedience by the things he had suffered; and having been made per." fect. (Heb. V. 8, 9.) A Christ who can be thus touched, is a Christ that touches the hearts of men. The
. .

A later disciple says that He "was in all points,

stations to the cross on Calvary ; the sufferings of a true fellow man that has ever been the most appealing and win-

some side of the Gospel

story.

Jesus on the cross

who spake
That
is

the

homo impression He made upon the mind


as never

man

spake

ecce

the

man

ecce

Deus!

of the early

church and the impression that the Gospel story will make upon men to-day. Present the Gospel picture of Jesus as

and His divinity will make sure of itself in the hearts and then in the minds of men. This will be purely an inductive process, as it was with the early disciples the impression of a man who was incomparably greater than any other, who was the actualized ideal of man, fully made into the image and likeness of God who was greater than the "I" of Jesus of Nazareth. (St. Johnxiv. 28.)
really
at the best,

and truly human

Practical living will afford better proof than any meta-

physical proof. Only walk with Jesus and you will know that you are walking with God. Read the Gospel narratives

was a chief concern with Him, that men should think rightly about Him. That has
and see
if

you think that

it

been the bane of orthodoxy putting a correct belief about Him before that of a correct life in His spirit. In reading the Gospels let us put aside the idea of a wonder working super-msLn and dem^i-god, masquerading as orthodoxy. For
this is the old

ApoUinarian heresy, that the eternal Logos

took the place of the rational human soul in the historic Jesus. That rampant heresy in much dogmatic teaching

108

MODERKISM

m RELIGIO:tT

about Jesus, needs to be condemned again to-day, if not by a General Council, then by the general Christian con-

from a better understanding of Jesus His message. Without dwelling further on this fresh modern line for a new portrait of Jesus, let me refer to two books: that of Rev. Dr. Harry E. Eosdick on "The Manhood of the Master" and that of T. R. Glover on "Jesus of History."
sciousness, coming of the Gospels and

Perhaps

this

one

modem line will

suffice for the present.

As

for the

modem

portrait of the protean Christ,

who will

dare to paint it?

Each one must dare to paint it as he sees it "for the God of things as they are." The Divinity of Jesus shines forth from every page of the Gospels. That of His Deity does not appear in them. This doctrine is the work of the thinking side of the

It thought out the impression made on men, and naturally and logically and rightly stated it in the Nicene

church.

But we must remember that Greek thought never conceived of God and man as wholly different from each other. Kith and kinship between the two was held as a
Creed.

fundamental conception.

God or man," would have been inconceivable to Greeks. "God and man" was their thought. They started with the impression made by Jesus on his contemporaries and on succeeding generations. They started as modernists do with, "Jesus, divinest when Thou
of "either

The dilemma

most himian

people use the former dilenmia they cannot reach the same results. Ordinary Christian thought generally stops at the first horn of the two heretical
art."

When

horns of the dilemma and says, "Jesus, God not man." Here are a few lines that the modernist finds for his "Never portrait of the ineffable Jesus of the Gospels. man spake like this man." He spoke not as the rigid traditionalist, the self-righteous

churchman of His day. He spoke with the authority of His personality, but never

MODERN BIBLICAL CRITICISM


gave a new
set of laws, to

109

become traditions for His followers to fight about, if tbey ever became scribes and pbariHe spoke the sees, as surely tbej ofttimes have become. sermon on the Mount, that Magna Charta for His way of
spoke of God as Father, never as King. He He wrought mighty spoke in the wonderful parables. deeds. He did not perform astounding wonders. He dislife.

He

approved of such
pf personality
;

signs.

(St. John. iv. 48.)

surely

He

miracles for the good of performed many more of these than those re-

But miracles people about Him,

corded in the Gospels.

He was meek and gentle, but He was also fiercely indignant. He was a man of sorrows. He was also a man of
and of deeper joy in what we esteem His sorrows. He was unostentatiously magnanimous. He was also severely just. He was intensely loyal to His cause the Kingdom of God on earth. He was absolutely fearless and sincere. He loved common men and women. He did not love the scribes and pharisees who were harming others by keeping them out of the Kingdom, which they themselves refused to enter. He was conscious of fulfilling the old law by transcending its legalistic form with a spiritual content. He meant to kill legalism in religion. The church has not yet succeeded in keeping true to His ideal He was conscious of human limitations; in the matter. conscious of deriving all from the Father, and of subordiHe was consciously Master; conscious nation to Him. of His Messiahship and of a Spiritual Kingdom on earth. He was conscious of revealing the character of God, of His power to forgive sins, and of His own unique sonship. He was intensely religious and ethical. Yet he left no
natural
joy,

human

new

creed or decalogue. He left us, primarily, a new VMiy of living. First fellowship with God, through Him, and then fellowship with men in His Kingdom. These

are a few of the lines for the modernists' portrait of

Him.

110

MODERNISM IN

EELIGIOlSr

Let us turn briefly to the Master's mission, the masterpassion of His life. It is easily seen to be that of a revelation of the Father, in order to effect the enlargement of

His Kingdom on earth that of peace and good will among men. All of his teaching centers round His conception of
the

Kingdom

of

God

the

Kingdom

of heaven on earth.

Again, read the Gospels and you may be surprised to see how often He speaks of this Kingdom over a hundred times in the Synoptics, and four times in St. John, where the term "eternal life" is used as its equivalent. See too, how rarely he uses the terms salvation and saved as refer-

ring to salvation from punishment in the future life. And yet how vastly disproportional has been the use of this
latter conception.

In his vision of the Kingdom of God,

the petty selfish conception of such a salvation dwindles into comparative insignificance. He that seeks thus to

save hisvindividual soul, here or hereafter, shall "lose it." Only they who are ready to lose their life for Ilis sake
shall save
it.

(St.

His Kingdom on earth; that state of mind and heart that makes for such That is the heart and mind of the Master, whose service. master passion was for the Kingdom of God on earth. His disciples never fully understood Him. He had adapted
salvation

meant

ix: 24.) fitness for service in

Luke

We

should say that


'

the regnant Jewish conception of the

force, would have adopt it. it, as in the twenty-fourth chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel and elsewhere. They wished to sit on His right and
left

Him

Kingdom. They, perThey clothed Him with

hand in such an apocalyptic Kingdom.

They were

ready to join in a warfare for its present establishment. Wlien he spake of the sword of the spirit, they flashed out two swords of the flesh. "It is enough," he said in wondrous condescension to their misunderstanding. Even after his resurrection their question was "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel" accord:

MODEElSr BIBLICAL CKITICISM


dom
in which

111

ing to their Jewish messianic idea of that national king-

have places on His right and left for them to occupy. (Acts i 6.) But how piteously petty has heen the orthodox picture
:

He would

of the salvation of the soul

from future torments.

How,

How

at least, it has misrepresented Jesus' idea of salvation. much more has this conception of His mission been

over-emphasized, than that of his conception of the Kingdom. Christ's Kingdom-conception truly includes the
salvation of the individual soul, here and hereafter. In this Kingdom-conception, salvation is not in a belief, but in an activity. It is no easy matter. It is a following in the footsteps of His most holy sacrificial life. To enter that Kingdom a man must deny himself. His object can no longer be himself in any way. "Seek ye first the kingdom
his righteousness." One must renounce all the petty personal ambitions that bring enmity among men in their struggle for wealth and fame and power. One must

of

God and

keep his eye on the King and the Kingdom and serve in that Kingdom if he would walk in His footsteps, and thus have that sort of life that only is eternal and saving. Here
surely modernists are offering a new line to the view, the Master's own view as to his mission. I may refer to at
least
i.e.
J,

two books which represent


A.
Clutton
Brock's

this
is

modem
the

"What

conception; Kingdom of

Heaven?" and A. Herbert Gray's "The Christian Adventure."

The Gospel

of the

Kingdom,

this is the great

Gospel of

Jesus that modernists are bringing to the fore to-day, to replace the selfish conception of future salvation through right beliefs. Pray do read the so-called Athanasian creed and then read the Gospels. That creed was held as the

preeminent statement of orthodoxy in the middle ages and in some later ages. The clergymen of the Church of England are now required to use it only four times a year.

112

MODERNISM
American clergyman
it

IT^

EELIGI0:N'
an English church

An

officiating in

on one of these required occasions. He wrote to the Bishop of the diocese (Dr. Lightfoot) saying that he could not conscientiously use it. The Bishop^s reply was simply, "Don't.'' That is the reply of modernists. Glover well asks, "what has the Athanasian creed to do with Jesus of Nazareth ? Does it suggest His language.
omitted
not a hideous perversion ?" Surely it is all jargon to those who do not think in Greek thought. For those who formed it, it was full
attitude to
life,

His

His

spirit.

Is

it

and for centuries was esteemed to be a better statement of orthodoxy than the Nicene creed. Is it worth while, even if we had time, to Hellenize ourof

meaning and of

truth,

to be able to appreciate its truth? Is orthodoxy of intellect worth the trouble? Is it not better for us to try to think it all out in our own modem dialect ?
selves in a

way

a general statement of the old and the new view of the New Testament. The old view is too well known

Here

is

to

Suffice it to say that it was an acceptance of it as a whole, as the infallible word of God, without any historical and critical knowledge of

need a

full statement.

how

it

came

to be written.

It

was taken

as a book of divine

oracles, especially

on the intellectual side of doctrine as The Gospels were accepted as stenographic a new law. The Epistles were taken to reports of contemporaries.
be
their

authors'

final

statement

of

doctrines.

The

Apostles were miraculously inspired, and thought that they were writing the last word for future generations. The

without any regard to the framework of contemporary thought and history. modernist can possibly read the New Testament in
old view took
it all

[No

this way.

He knows

that

it

was

affected throughout

by

contemporary ideas and beliefs. He knows to-day just what these were. He knows better than any previous generation could know the historical conditions under which

moder:n^ biblical critioism


its

113

knows their historical framework and the purpose for which the authors wrote. He recognizes that they had the vivid experience that begets
books were written.
the creative impulse, that later writers do not have. He grants that its intrinsic worth makes it the most inspired of all books. It has stood the test of the ages, and it can stand

He

on

merits through all forms of criticism that seek to understand it. It needs no arbitrary theory of infalliThe Gospels as well as the Epistles bility to uphold it.
its

own

were called for by definite needs of the times. The generation of those who had seen Jesus in the flesh was passing away. Missionary labors of the Apostles had founded

numerous widely scattered Christian communities. They The oral Gospel took differed greatly one from another. many forms and was given different interpretations. There was a call for chronicling the main facts, but only relatively a few of the facts of the life and teachings of their

common

Master.

On the older theory given up. The authors themselves differed from this was necessary. each other, both in mental characteristics and in other
is

they give of mony of the Gospels

The writers differ much in the account them. The vain attempt to construct a har-

Each one painted the picqualifications for their work. ture the best he could for the purpose in hand. They did not imagine that they were writing a book of oracles for
all

future time.

This

is

more emphatically true of


meet current

St.

Paul

in writing his Epistles to

difficulties.

But

in spite of the personal limitations of time, place and

circumstances and general world-view, they were surely But their inspired work inspired to write as they did. is now read by modernists, who understand and make allowance for these limitations, in interpreting their messages.

"But you modernists

we do

believe

it

don't believe the Bible!"


it

Yes,

believe

as critical study shows it to be.

114

MODEROTSM

IIST

EELIGIO:Nr
to it?"

"But what authority do you allow

We

give

it all

authority due to it as a progressive revelation of God, culminating in that made through Jesus of Nazareth. Protestants were right in appealing from a fallible church to the Bible. They erred in making it infallible in all its
parts.

They became
it

Bibliolaters.

They were

right in

making

authoritative.

Article

VI

of the

XXXIX

Articles of Religion in the Prayer Book of the Protestant Episcopal Church, states the position of all Protestants :

"Holy scripture containeth

all

things necessary to salva-

tion: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it

should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation."

That was a forward

authoritative to-day, only It stands stripped of its foreign garb of infallibility. above the reason of the individual. It limits the authority

ward again to make The Bible stands as religion.

step. the fallible

We

should be stepping backchurch the authority in

of the church.

It refuses to be a book of proof texts.

longer can

it
is

be true that

No

"This

the book where each his

And

this the

dogma seeks book where each his dogma finds."

!^^odem Biblical criticism frees us from such misuse by giving us the Bible, in each of its books, as it was written with the time, place, circumstances and purpose. And with the vast accumulation of information on these subjects to-day, it can do this, as no previous age could have done it. So we answer your questions frankly. No, we do not believe the Bible as you, with your arbitrary theory of But we do believe it in absolute infallibility, believe it. a truer way. We have tried the old way and have honestly been forced out of it. We have tried the new way, and We find it to give us a more inspiring word of God.
I

MODEEN BIBLICAL CKITICISM

115

should not dare to teach the Bible to our children or our congregations on the old theory. It is not true. Only a

cannot treat the belated intelligence could do so. Bible as the Mohammedans do their Koran, as something dropped straight from heaven in a few years.

We

through the religious experience of men in many ages. It has sixty-six books, each with a It is thus It is chiefly to be used devotionally. history. life giving. But it is to be studied as a sacred literature.

It has

come

to us

CHAPTER VIII
CULT
cultivation of intimacy with God; the system of ways of access to Him. It would take us too far afield to make any worthy study of

means the

CULT
this

phase of every religion. Suffice it to say that cult lies near the very heart of religion. It is religion's first expression. In and through it passionate need and

Here true atonepassionate love express themselves. ment of God and man is both symbolized and realized.

Mere morality can never


monized with
spirit.

give this testimony of spirit harIn morality there ever remains that

constant struggle for attainment, which St. Paul so graphically and so piteously depicted in the seventh chapter of
his Epistle to the

Romans.

an asymptotic approach.
Cult
is

Morality at its best gives only In worship the goal is reached.

a double-sided activity. Both God and man give and receive. The spirit of loving sacrifice on both sides

becomes the reconciling spirit, giving calm and rest and renewed energy to the worshipper. The souFs aspiration finds here its fruition. God is merciful and friendly.

Worshipping Him, man


with Him.

realizes his

own

reconciliation

this constitutes the real significance and the vital essence of religion. The cult may be of the sim-

And

plest kind, such as silent prayer in a Quaker meeting. Or it may be of the most ornate kind in public worship. But some form of cult is generally necessary for man's realiza-

tion of the religious reconciliation. In the matter of the form of cult in Christianity, one should trace the influ116

CULT

117

ence of concurrent pagan cults upon the simple form of cult in the nascent church, changing it into the splendid ceremonial of the two great churches of the middle ages.

The natural

religious

instinct,

which had created the

pagan cults, is always active in this sphere. Christians borrowed and adopted much of the pagan forms. Alas,
they also incorporated their sacerdotalism into their cult. That is the bane which only the Reformation purged out
of our cults.

The

liturgy of the Eastern church

is

very

The splendor complicated, ritualistic and symbolical. of lights and colored vestments and of semi-barbaric pomp ;
the lowering of a curtain before the altar, while the priest consecrates the elements, and a male choir is chanting the Lord's Prayer antiphonally ; the raising of the curtain

showing the altar as a representation of the empty tomb of the risen Saviour; the distribution of the elements by in-

members standing the continuous lighting of candles by the members during the ceremony all this a Protestant views with mixed feelings of surprise and
stinction to the
;

reverence.

It is all too complicated and barbaric in splendor to be much of a stimulus to the religious life of a

western mind.
pass from the Greek church in Paris to the Roman church of La Madeleine. The people are all kneeling and praying. Wonderfully fine organ music fills the church

But

and thrills the soul. There is splendor of altar and vestments and gorgeous ritual, but it is not so semi-barbaric. It is simpler and grander and more appealing. One feels like bowing in lowly adoration as he realizes the presence of the spiritual Christ in the midst. Less than this can no devout Protestant experience present at a grand

high-mass in La Madeleine. Pass now to the lowly chapel of the McCall Mission, in an adjoining street where it began some forty years ago. Here the cult is of the simplest and Protestant form.

118

MODERNISM

m EELIGIOlSr

Praise and prayer and Scripture reading and the reverent celebration of the Lord's Supper devoid of all the pomp

and ceremony of the Greek and the Roman liturgies, and lo, your feelings of awe and thanksgiving are deeply stirred. Christ is really present as the Host, and communes with you and you with Him. He enters the open
door of your heart as guest. He reclines there as your Host. The real presence of the living Christ that is the vital need of the soul. But who should dare to limit Give the form of cult through which this is mediated?

play to the imagination, stimulating the religious life to Let the those who need the pomp of ceremonialism. esthetic feeling be aroused for it is kith and kin to the Be plain, but not too plain. religious emotion. Of Cult we may say that Rome has too much and Protestantism too little. Protestants should have more sacramentalism, but purged of its pagan elements of sacerdotalism and formalism and asceticism.
It is only the danger of these besetting sins of sacramentalism that keeps many Protestants from having more

Bplendor of an esthetic ritual. With us prayer, public and private, might be made a more affective and effective part of our ritual than it is.

"Prayer is the soul's sincere Uttered or unexpressed.'^


It is the desire for God.
fied.
tt
.

desire.

Sincere prayer

is

Through it that desire is communion with God. And

satis-

More things
this

are wrought by prayer


of.

Than

Wherefore let thy voice Else like a fountain for me night and day. For what are men better than sheep or goats
within the brain. If knowing God they lift not hands of prayer, Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
life

world dreams

That nourish a blind

CULT
whole round world is every way Bound by golden chains about the feet of God/'

119

For

so the

good gifts unto your children how much more shall your heavenly Father
"If ye then, being
;

evil,

know how

to give

give the

them that ask him?'' (St. Luke xi: 13.) parallel passage in St. Matthew says good things instead of The Holy Spirit. The Master's message was inclusive of both. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you." Too often we reverse his order. We pray most Prayer is the utterearnestly for what we desire most. ance of our dominant desire. This is too often the desire for good things, and prayer becomes a begging that God's will may be changed to meet our desires. We seek to get

Holy The

Spirit to

God to do our will. Thy Kingdom come. Thy

will be done

that should be
as

our dominant desire in prayer.

Then we can pray

earnestly as possible for the fulfilment of our other pressing desires. Pray for the gift of his Holy Spirit. How
feeble

and formal such prayer often is. It is not our dominant desire. But pray for it sincerely and our prayer will surely be answered, and all other needed things will be added thereto. But we dare not pray for this supreme It would flood our souls with such riches as would gift.
at least

dampen our

nominal indeed have a living and a conquering church. God soon fades out of the mind soon ceases to be the living reality of the soul of the man and of the church that ceases from fervent prayer for his Holy Spirit, and for all other good We should pray much alone or in fellowship with gifts. two or three more in corporate silence and meditation. We should stay in the silence with God the great Companion, who besets us behind and before and layest His
;

desires for other good gifts. If all Christians could fervently pray for it, we should

120

moder:n'ism in eeligio:n'
us.

hand upon

"Whither can I

flee

from thy presence?"


flee into

cries the Psalmist.

Why

should

we

not oftener

conscious presence with Him. In the sacrament of silence let a body of fellow Christians seek the soul of the universe

they grip and feel themselves gripped by that Soul. Going in from the hurly-burly of business enter with brain cells whirling about intellectual or practical problems; go
till
;

go into His holy temple and keep silence before Him. The peace that passeth a worldly man's understanding will come. You will gain
in,

ladened with burdens of

life

and poise, and power and gentleness of spirit. I have cultivated the use of a simple non-ritualistic service in All Souls' only from fear of formalism, superstition and sacerdotalism so frequently produced by too much ritualism. Personally I could sometimes enjoy a much more ornate and esthetic form. I am not sure, however, that its continuous use would better serve the purpose
rest

of devotion for myself or the congregation. Besides the danger of formalism, in its use, there is the danger of

sacerdotalism creeping into its natural home. There is, It may divert too, the danger from the esthetic side.
attention

from the Lord we worship.

It

is

told of Michel-

angelo, that in painting the scene of the last supper, he had painted a wondrously beautiful chalice on the altar.

In showing it to a friend, he found that the chalice captivated his whole attention. The esthetic emotion that it
aroused eclipsed the central figure in the painting. With a stroke of his brush, he wiped out the chalice, saying, "nothing must be allowed to hide the face of Christ in the
painting."

Then pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit. as freely and frankly for all other needs; for freedom
Pray
first

from

bereavements and calamities, yes, even pray for needed rain, always asking for the granting of these petitions, "as may be most expedient for us." The
suffering,

CULT

121

reign of law in nature will not prevent answer to all sucli The reign of law is the reign of our heavenly petitions. The fervent prayer of the righteous is always Father.
effectual

prayer, though its answer be other than our

request

has too little of the responsive part of the congregation in her services. The priest and the choir perform it all. The same is true of the public services in many of the Protestant churches. The minister and the
choir perform
it all.

Rome

There

is

need of more religious

festivals, a fuller

round

festal following the steps of the earthly course of the life

of Jesus, including the Stations of the Cross. Then there is a need of having a calendar of modern saints' days;

holy men of modern type, remembrance of whom would stimulate us to a more robust and sane sort of Christian
lifa

Then

there is need in some churches to use

many more

prayers of the Christian ages. In other churches, there is need to use more extempore prayers. Enrichment of public service

in some, and modernizing it somewhat in other churches would help much in promoting the spirit of devo-

tion.

need of more sacramental forms of worforms through which the spirit enters the open door ship and communes with us. Perhaps the two that Protestants have kept are not enough. Matrimony is rightly, for the
Finally there

is

But where this rite partakes of Christian, sacramental. the nature of a civil contract, as it too often does, the sacramental view is impossible. Coming into full membership in the church should be made sacramental. Full of grace and help are all things sacramental outward tokens

of love ; "outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us."

The

simplest ring put

upon a woman's

finger

by the

122

MODEROTSM
A

I:N'

EELIGIO:^r

man

wlio says, "with this ring I thee wed," thrills the bit of bunting heart with love divine. the stars and
stripes

warms and nerves the

soldier to

than he would without having it a letter, a warm handshake, and lo we are new creatures. One of the two sacraments that Protestants have kept is not observed as it should be. the Holy Communion Generally it is used too infrequently. When used frequently it is often used not rightly. Formalism and super!

do mightier deeds wave before him. kiss,

and sacerdotalism are apt to pervert it. But what a means of communion with the Master we are missing in not having it more frequently. Starting with the rememstition

brance of the Master, the feast rises into mystic realms. The real presence of the real Christ is realized. He enters
the open door of the heart as guest. Host.

He

serves there as

CHAPTEK IX
MODERNISM IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND
Church of England always has had a body of members known as Latitudinarians at one tirne,.^ then as Liberals and later on as Broad churchmen.

THE

They have been modernists in their days, who have insisted upon freedom of inquiry in regard to traditional forms of church life, and the freedom of reinterpreting them in the light of the new learning of their time. We may mensome of the leading representatives of this school of thought (it never was a party) Archbishop Whately, Dr. Thomas Arnold, Dr. F. D. Maurice, Dean Stanley and
tion, as

a party of modernists in the Church of England, embracing many of the Broad churchmen. It has not ceased to be a school of thought, rather than one of memory of the olden times and ways, but it is an
is

Canon Farrar. But now there

organized party, for purposes of offense and defense, like I that of the Evangelical and Anglo-Catholic parties. should say that it is the legitimate child of the Evangelical

party and the Broad church school. Its organization is called the Churchman s Union, For the past twelve years it has published a party organ called The Modem Church-

man.

It maintains a

Hall, Oxford. a Modern Churchman's Library. It thus for the first time organizes the liberals in the Church of England into

theological school Ripon It has an annual Conference. It publishes

modem

a party, and proposes to use all the proper party tactics Thus far it has been free from the fairly and openly.
123

124

MODERiSTISM IN RELIGIOIT

bane of ecclesiastical Machiavellianism, to which the other parties have more or less succumbed. It has eminent Archdeacons, Deans, Canons, college professors on its board of governors. Of this party it was said in a recent number of The Churchman "In academic distinction it would indeed be hard to beat this gathering of able men. They comprise scholars of European distinction, deans and canons, head masters of the great public
:

schools of England, fellows


versities."

and tutors of the

historic uni-

the elder men, Dr. Rashdall, now Dean of Carlisle, and one of the first scholars of the day, is again crossing swords (after a twenty years' interval) with Bishop Gore,

Of

cannot see how the Dean's position with membership in the Anglican Church.

who

still

is

compatible

It publishes as its platform

"Aims of the Churchman's Union.


1.

To

2.

and progressive character of the revelation given by the Holy Spirit in the spheres of knowledge and of conduct. To maintain the right and duty of the Church of England to restate her doctrines from time to time in
affirm the continuous

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

England. To defend the freedom and well work To promote the adaptation the church the the needs and knowledge To the a share the the claim the church. government and responsible work To cooperation and fellowship between the church England and other Christian churches. To study the application Christian and
of
of

accordance with this revelation. To uphold the historic comprehensiveness of the Church
of responsible students, clerical as research. of criticism as lay, in their services to of

times.

assert

of

laity to

larger of

in

foster

of

of

principles

ideals to the

whole of our social

life."

MODEEOTSM IN CHUECH OF
On
its first

ENGLAISTD 125

page The

two quotations: heresy, you make orthodoxy synonymous with ignorance." Erasmus. "A state without the means of change, is without the means of its conservation." Edmund Burke.

Modem Churchman prints these "By identifying the New learning with

learn about the teachings of this party through such books as that of the Rev. Dr. J. F. Bethune-Baker

One can

on "The Faith of the Apostles' Creed," Canon M. G. Glazebrook's "The Faith of a Modern Churchman," and that of various volumes by Dean Inge, the late Canon Freemantle, Professor Edwin Hatch, Professor Sanday and in a volume entitled "Foundations: A Statement of
Christian Belief in

Terms

of

Modem

Thought," by seven

This latter corresponds to the famous volume entitled "Lux Mundi" of the Anglo-Catholic party. All this literature, we might characterize as their Tracts for the Times, to use a title given by the early Anglo-Catholic party to their first publications. Taken as a whole, one can get from these volumes a fairly good understanding of the teachings of the modernists in the Church of Eng-

Oxford men.

land.

Like every new party,

as bitter as that of partizanship in the field of politics, especially from the side of the Anglo-Catholic In presenting their case, however, I shall refer party.
chiefly to the papers given at their annual Conference in August of this year. ^Nearly all of these papers were on

cum

generally

it

has to bear the odium theologir

the topic What think ye of Christ? Several of them were on the topic of Creeds. full report of them is to be found in The Modem Churchman for the month of

September, 1921. Modernists have been accused of not believing in the Incarnation and the Divinity of their Master. The most that can rightly be said is, that they do hold both of these
truths, but that they

do not reach them in the speculative

126

MODEROTSM

11^

RELIGIOlSr

of Nicene Christology, nor do they hold them on the traditional ground of church authority. They reach them

way

by modem inductive and pragmatic methods and hold them on grounds of personal conviction. I think that this
a fair statement of their position. Let me give a review of some of the papers given at their recent Conferis

ence.

I quote freely, but shall try to do it accurately. In an editorial Dr. Major says that every fair-minded

reader will recognize the effort in all the papers to be constructive. note of affirmation runs through all the The radical views of Professor Christological papers.

Lake and Professor Foakes-Jackson were held to be his^ torically unjustifiable and psychologically inadequate. The old indiscriminate use of Scriptural proof texts was
of course repudiated. Who indeed, we may ask, should dare to use it ? As to the denial of the Divinity of Christ,

cannot be found in any of the papers, unless, I think, in that of Professor Lake. None of them found fault with the creed in its affirmation of Jesus' being of one Substance with the Father and as possessing both a himian and a
it

divine nature.

All would confess that in Jesus

is

beheld

Deltas sub specie humanitatis, the Deity of Jesus being seen in his perfect humanity.

Again we note the absence of any appeal for credibility to the old view of miracles. How can any one, we may ask, appeal to an irruptionist, cataclysmic interference with nature, unless he does not believe in the divine immanence in nature, but only in an absentee God. Canon Glazebrook closes his paper thus: "(a) The records of our Lord's earthly life, and of his later manifestations to his disciples are fragmentary and mingled, with elements of legend. We desire to clear our thoughts about them, in order that we may have a reasoned assurance about that which is essential.

"(b) Jesus claimed to

bf*

the revealer of Grod.

We

de-

MODEEmSM
sire to

IN CHUECH OF EITGLAITD
He is
sucli
;

127

renew our conviction that

and

to "under-

stand

more

means by mandment, example or demonstration. ^^(c) For all who call themselves Christians, The Person of Jesus Christ
is

fully both the content of His message, and the which it was delivered whether teaching, com-

a central fact.

If, therefore,

our

faith is to be a whole,

and not a group of fragments, we

must bring

our religious beliefs, our rules of conduct, our hopes and aspirations and ideals, into relation with
all

that center.

"When we have
mood
to

tried to do this,

we

shall be in the right

approach the mystery of His nature, the understanding of which would explain man's place in the universe, and the meaning of Christ's human life for each individual soul. Though we cannot look for a complete
understanding, we are confident that sincere and reverent effort will not altogether fail."
thus dismisses the apocalyptic view of Jesus, held by Professors Lake and Foakes-Jackson "Gloss this view as you will, it none the less makes Jesus
Professor
:

Emmet

a one-sided fanatic, a very commonplace and uninspiring The writer of another paper says: "The auprophet." thors of such a book as ^The Beginnings of Christianity,'

appear to reach what we may not unfairly term rejective conclusions by an atomic disintegration, which a physicist might envy." The conference quite rejected their hypothesis and snubbed Professor Lake, who spoke in a somewhat contemptuous vein about these modernists. He outclassed himself from their number. His view is that of Loisy, for holding which I think that the Roman Church was right in excommunicating him. Principal Major referring to this view says: "Jesus' conception of Himself is no more that of the Jewish Apocalyptists, than His conception of the Kingdom is
theirs.

He

uses their terms, but

He

fills

them with a

128

MODEROTSM
content."

m EELIGION^
upon

new

I say elsewhere, it is a question between such a Jesus and the disciples who understood Him so
that they put their Jewish apocalyptic clothing

As

little

Him. The papers


ford,

of Professor

Emmet

of

Ripon Hall, Ox-

and of the Dean of Carlisle (Dr. Eashdall) were the outstanding features of the Conference and have raised the
have seen how Professor Emmet dismissed the Lake and Loisy theory that Jesus adopted the role of a Jewish Messiah. Professor Emmet's paper was on the topic, "What do we know of Jesus ?" Taking the Gospel narratives and other New Testament writings, together with what he calls "the impact made by Jesus on His age, and the result of that impact in a school, a movement, or a church," he asks "what general impression of Jesus can we gather from these twofold sources ? What kind of a person does He seem to have been ?" He takes
loudest criticism.
for granted the general acceptance of the reality of Christ's humanity. That indeed is the fundamental position of all
traditional conception of Christ reads the Christ of Nicea back into the earthly career of Jesus.

We

modernists.

The

obviously wrong. The problem, I should say, is how to read the Gospels forward into the Nicene Creed, to see how far they justify its statements.

That

is

Professor

Emmet

says

we

get the impression of an

overwhelming personality. St. Mark's Gospel is a thrilling drama, in which popularity and hostility play in the foreground. "Wherever Jesus appeared, these burst into
flame.

He

dously."

attracted tremendously or repelled tremenJesus on earth was certainly one who counted

and made things different wherever He went. All of His wonderful works of healing and His insight and intuitions are easily believable from our present knowledge of psychotherapy and the new psychology. They show the power of
a perfect humanity.

MODERNISM IN CHUECH OF
Then
is

EISTGLAISTD

129

the method of self-revelation which Jesus adopts not that of dogmatic self-assertion. The Gospels show

man who was much more concerned with His message than with Himself; a man who was self-imparting and
us a

simply that of one doing good and preaching ahout the Kingdom. His disciples soon found themselves compelled to describe Him by the highest term they knew, and that something more than a teacher. Emnot self-centered. It
is

phasis is put upon the attractiveness of his personality; the harmonious charm of His character; the absence of any sense of sin or need of forgiveness "the presence of

a personality which impresses and grips them." The personal fascination which He exercised on His contemporaries

has renewed

itself
it

been enthralled by
present

from age to age. Modernists have and therefore think the best way to

showing the perfect human person that lies back of the Gospel narratives. They note His immediate and unbroken consciousness of God, as Father. Practically He calls God Father and nothing else, and never calls him Jehovah or King. And clearly it was His aim to pass this new conception on to
to this age, is that of

Him

teachings. Throughout all the papers we find proclaimed the overwhelming personality of this man

others in

His

of Galilee.

The calm, the


;

sweet reasonableness

severity, the dignity and the the holding in restraint the terrible

energies as of glowing volcanic fires beneath

all this

im-

pressed His disciples. Only once did any one dare to pity, and only twice to offer Him advice. That of Peter He met

with a withering look and the word of rebuke, "Get thee behind me, satan.'' He was full of gentleness and sympathy for the sick, the sorrowful, and the sinner. He fondled
little

children and loved to visit

humble people in

their

homes.

He enagonized in the garden of Gethsemane. dured shameful, spiteful treatment and finally His great

He

130

MODEROTSM
O
It touches.

m EELIGIOIT
wondrous
love,

heart broke on the cross.


it
!

who can

resist

can speak to the heart of man, The man of deepest that have never uttered a groan." This has been joy, He touches us as the man of sorrows.
lips

"No

the vital teaching, the winning teaching, in all traditional forms of Christianity. Modernists seek but to renew it
again.
giving.

"His whole

life

He left no

code,

was one of free unstinted selfno book, no system. He left only


is

Himself." Is it not true that such


traditionally preached?
ists

not the
is it

way

that Jesus is

Rather
is

not in a

way

that

mars His wondrous humanity ?


are asking, that this
to

Is

it

not true,

all

modern-

the best

way

to get

men

to

come

and cling to Him, till they are ready to cleave to Him as God, through peril, toil and pain ? I think so. Then we must remember as Matthew Arnold said, "Jesus was above the heads of his reporters." Jesus was the Messiah. He also believed that He must die to achieve the redemption of mankind into the Kingdom of God on His call was not to seek honor but to give service. earth. But He went on to the end doing the will of the Father who had sent Him. Professor Bethune-Baker says that "to put it personally, I should say that what my faith in the God-head of Jesus means to me is that I believe that in getting to know Him, I get to know God; that what He does for me, the at-one-ment of which He makes me conscious is a divine work. Never does He cease to be a man for me. He becomes for me merged, as it were in God, or identical with
God.

Him

He

is

I say that the man Jesus is God, I mean that for me, the index of my conception of God." This is

When

something more than Ritschlianism. Dean Rashdall tries to tell what modernists mean by the Divinity of Christ and starts with some negative propositions: (1) "Jesus did not claim Divinity for Himself";
like but

MODEROTSM IN CHUECH OF ENGLAND

131

(2) "Jesus was, in the fullest sense, a man." When a Sunday School teacher asks his class who was Jesus, and
tries to elicit the

answer "God," without the important addition "and man" he is teaching the ApoUinarian heresy. The fiction is kept up that Jesus was man but not a man

but God, eviscerating the Gospels of the human touch, which for men is the touch divine. (3) "It is equally unorthodox to suppose that the human soul of Jesus preexisted." (4) "The Divinity of Christ does not neces-

imply the Virgin Birth or any other miracle." (5) "The Divinity of Christ does not imply omniscience." Defending these propositions, he goes on with the constructive side. He construes the Incarnation on the conception of a kinship between God and man that is often un-orthodoxly denied. Human and divine are not mutually exclusive terms. There is a certain community of nature between them. Man is made in the image and likeness of God and so God can talk with him, can become fully insarily

carnate in him.

"That we are

justified in thinking of

God

as like Christ;

and teaching of Christ contain the fullest disclosure both of the character of God Himself and of His will for man that is, so far as the momentous truth can be summed up in a few words, the true meaning for
that the character

us of the doctrine of Christ's Divinity." He follows this sure knowledge, with a discussion of the terms Word (Logos) y and person, as used in Nicene Christology, that can interest only the few who are acquainted with the
subjects. Traditionalists who speak of the Trinity as three distinct minds, or centers of consciousness and deny that

one mind, are the real heretics, from the Nicene standpoint. The framers of the Nicene creed would have denounced them as Tritheists pure and simple.
is

God

of the Nicene Fathers helps ub to "see in their fully developed doctrine of the Person of

The Logos conception

132

MODEKNISM IN EELIGION

Christ, the expression, in the language of a bye-gone phiand, I believe, always will losophy, of that which still is

be

the

and

central truth of Christianity, viz., that in the life character, the teaching and the personality of Jesus

Christ, the world has received the highest revelation of

God."
well ask ourselves, should we continue to teach the Divinity of Christ in a language not

But why

then,

we may

understood by even educated people? Why not begin with the impression Jesus makes upon us and live with that till we see His divinity full-orbed and unobscured by

His perfect humanity. That is the way the disciples learned it not by any dogmatic teaching from Him, but by their living with Him. Verily I believe that if we can

get

men

to live with Jesus of Nazareth, they will not be

slow to recognize His divinity. And that is the practical reason why modernists insist so strenuously on the genuine humanity of Jesus. They feel that the best work to be
of bringing present-day men and women face to face with the Jesus of history, in place of the Christ of dogmatic theology. That does not appeal to

done

is

in the

way

them. Why not give them what does appeal to them touch and win them? Traditional teaching surely obscures this vision of His face and mars it with metaphysical theories that are no longer understood and leave men

with a Jesus who does not touch them, because He is not given the human touch. I cannot so preach Jesus. I want to win souls for the kingdom's service. I preach the cross
of Jesus, the mightiest of all human touches to win men to take up their cross and follow Him and thereby to be saved

by

Him

with the only salvation worth having

the

salva-

tion of getting more of the heart and the Master into their daily lives and work.

mind

of the

recur again to the paper of Dean Rashdall. Heresy hunters were soon on his trail and some of them

But

let

me

MODERmSM
demanded

IN CHUECH OF

EISTGLA^N^D

133

his deposition from the ministry. In reply the Bishop of Carlisle published the following statement:

"I have received many letters not, I am glad to say, from within the diocese ^inviting me either to prosecute the Dean I of Carlisle or at once 'to condemn his paper as heretical. have read the paper carefully, and can find nothing in it which amounts to a denial of any article of the Creed. So far from being a denial of the Divinity of our Lord, it is an attempt at once to explain that doctrine and to establish it. Whether the attempt is successful or not is a question on which opinions may reasonably and even violently differ, and there are statements upon matters of Biblical criticism within the

readers seem incompatible with the conclusions reached. But I hope that, before forming a final judgment, those who are interested in Dr. EashdalFs

paper which

may

to

many

opinions will at least read the sermon which he published subsequently to the Conference.''

I regret that I have not seen the sermon referred to. It is said to have greatly dampened the ardor of the heresy hunters. In any event it is a hunt for the Bishop as well
as for his Dean.

Dr. Bethune-Baker, Professor of Divinity in the University of Cambridge, read a paper on "Jesus as both

human and

divine."

He

says:

"All Christian doctrine grows out of the puzzlement felt by the first generation of Christians. They knew He was a

man
God

in outward appearance and


as well as

life,

but there was some-

thing more which bafiled them, and the doctrine that

He was
on the

man was an

early result of reflection

facts of their actual experience.''

was human, we believe He was also divine." Try first to find out what He was as a man, that we may better realize that He was divine. "I do not for a moment suppose that Jesus ever thought of Himself
that

"We know

He

134
as God."

MODERNISM IN RELIGION
He
That would really be to dis-incamate Himself. was also divine, was the best interpretation that

That

could give of the impact, the impression he made upon them. So too it is ours. That is the key-note in his volume on ''The Faith of the Apostles' Creed." As to this impression of what Jesus was, he, in common with most modernists does not quote St. John's
Gospel, as the testimony of an eye witness, as its date and authorship are still an open question. The evidence seems
to point towards considering it as the work of another disciple in the early part of the second century. The Professor then quotes this paragraph from that devout Roman

those living with

Him

Catholic mystic, Baron von Hiigel:

... is declared to hold in His human mind and will as much of God, of God pure, as human nature, at its best and when most completely supernaturalized, can be made by God to hold, whilst remaining genuine human nature still.
''Jesus

yet this same Jesus (though in this supreme heightened sense the Christ) remains thus also truly Jesus that is, a

And

human mind and human


sense-stimulation, to

time and space. He our Refuge and our Rest."

bound to a human body, to history and institutions, to succession, can thus be our Master and our Model,
will

"That," says Professor Bethune-Baker, "is a statement of one of the finest and most Christian minds of to-day. I find the conception of the Incarnation expressed in it essentially in harmony with the line of thought I have been following in this paper, and have expressed in other words in my little book, 'The Faith of the Apostles' Creed.' " ^ This volume should be read by those wishing to know how a university Professor of Divinity regards each clause
of the Apostles' Creed.
*

He

tries to disentangle

and retain

Published by the Macmillans.

MODERNISM IN CHURCH OF ENGLAND

135

the religious and spiritual value that each clause had at the time when formed. This he admits, rules out the acceptance of the literal clothing and trappings of an age with

a world-view very different from that of ours. He holds each article "neither according to its literal construction,

nor according to

construction, but according to Thus some of the clauses beits religious construction." come symbolical, as ''He ascended into Heaven and sitteth
its legal

at the right

hand of God."
is

While we do not think his


it

mode
is

of treatment

the best one,

should be said that

it

the one that was generally used by the modernists in the Roman church.^

The later papers at the Conference were on Creeds. The general sentiment of these papers might be thus exLet us not by any creeds set bounds to God's The need of a creed and the value and proper use of the two creeds, as the best available at present were maintained. They are still living, but like old trees, carry
pressed. horizon.

some dead branches.

We

know how

the needs of other times.

creeds grew to meet Considering their historical

antecedents, one writer said, "It seems high time for us to abandon the traditional policy of uncritical veneration

and go back to the more primitive habit of constructing a new creed, whenever the situation appears to demand it."

But

this does not represent the general tone of the opinions

It is expressed. No new creed could serve the purpose. best to retain the old ones, though "no reasonable man could accept them, except as statements historically valu-

able and

marking a stage in the


at

intellectual

development

of Christianity."

They should not be used

as Shibboleths.

The Fathers
*

Nicea did not assent "I believe" but

term Roman, though I know that American Catholics because Rome still rules the Catholic church in America, it, and has silenced the movement of Americanism which was removing that stigma from it.
I use the

object to

136

MODERNISM IN RELIGION
believe."

tried to express the general view of the church, enclosed in a general formula for the learned. Our modern version of "I believe" indicates an individual-

"We

They

Complete personal acquiescence is never expected in case of the general formula of any other institution or society, not even to our Constitution of the United States, with all its amendments. That would be psychologically impossible. And yet all Americans sweai by it, though sometimes swearing at some of its clauses. So too, while many will have respect for the creed as a whole, they are very likely to make mental reservations as to some of its clauses. The public use of a creed should therefore be in the general and historic sense of it as a
existing.

ism not then

whole.

Professor Percy Gardner thinks that a creed should "be taken rather in a literary than in dogmatic form." All

should be taken in the historical spirit and in a general rather than in an individual form. Sooner or later we shall have to reformulate our faith with a different
think that
it

emphasis.

Another one asks "Would not a confession of personal devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ, as the supreme revealer of the Love of God, and as the Saviour of the world, suf:

the personal confession of those seeking admission into the church, provided they had been so instructed as to know what that
fice?"
it

I think that

should

suffice for

Another one suggested this form: "I believe in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son and in His Holy Spirit," adding that "that was enough for St. Paul and St. John; and above all, it was enough for our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ." Later, a member of The Union thinks that any new statement should include belief in God's purpose for us and our work. Such a statement could and should be drawn up, as follows:
involved.

MODEEOTSM IN CHUKCH OF ENGLAND


'^

137

with love far-brought From out our storied past, and used Within the present, but transfused Thro' future time by power of thought/'
. .

and should at least include the following Christian affirmation "That inasmuch as the real test of our Christianity is that our daily conduct shall harmonize with the will of
:

God, as declared by Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we therefore declare our intention of working together in a Christian spirit with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity: To improve and intensify our personal experience of God by the regular and faithful use of every means of
grace.

To
To

live in such a

way

that

men everywhere
Holy
Spirit,

shall be

able to take note of us that

we have been with

Jesus.

follow the guidance of the


all truth.

who

will

lead us into

To promote harmonious relations with To seek that unity which shall make us
Jesus.

all

all

men. one in Christ

To promote effective Christianity in the endeavor to make the kingdoms of this world the Kingdom of our Lord
and of His Christ." The creeds were criticized as not being religious enough for not saying more of the love of God and of Jesus, and of the spiritual and practical life that glow throughout the New Testament. They do not include the more important parts of Christian belief, those which arise out of personal experience the keen hatred of sin, the desire
;

of forgiveness, the hope of divine grace, the aspiration


after eternal life.

Here
the

is

God

another tentative form proposed "I believe in and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ we are all
: :

138

MODEROTSM

m eeligio:n"

one family in Him. I trust Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, and strive to obey Him in all things. I pray the Holy Spirit to guide me into all truth.'* The February number of The Modem Churchman had given eighteen replies to a questionnaire on creeds, sent out to members of the Churchmen s Union, Creeds are being either used formally, to-day, or not being used at all or Traditionalists are being discussed and evaluated anew. object to the latter as being sacrilegious. But it is being done and rightly done. So it may be both interesting and helpful to give some consideration to the various answers given to this question by representative modernists in the

Church of England. A distinguished layman says:

''The only proper use of the existing Creeds, is as significant historical documents to be explained and commented

upon by
test;

Another qualified expositors at appropriate times." one thinks the proper use to be a devotional one and not as a

and that the world

is

ripe

and over

ripe, for the aboli-

tion of religious tests.

Dr. Bethune-Baker, Professor of Divinity in Cambridge University, offers the following: "I believe in God, maker of all things visible and invisible in human life, And in Jesus Christ, His Son our Lord, God manifest in human life.
Crucified for us, risen from the dead, ascended into heaven. And in the Spirit of the Father and the Son: One holy

Catholic Church, one Baptism unto forgiveness of sins, one Eucharist, one fellowship of the Faithful ; And the life of the

world to come."

Another submits "that the whole idea of Credenda to be required of members of Christ's Church is foreign to the mind of Christ, and is in a different category from the 'faith' or moral act of trust which He sought to elicit from His followers. No church of the future, which insists on other conditions of discipleship than Christ Himself

MODEEOTSM IN CHUKCH OF

El^GLAOT)

139

asked for, will deserve tlie name of Catholic, adding that creeds should be cast in the form of hymns and sung, with the Te Deum as an alternative, in order to their devotional
use.

Paul (the Eev. Dr. Inge) says: "I should keep the Te Deum and drop the three creeds." English churchmen as a whole, excepting the members
of St.

The Dean

of the Anglo-Catholic party, long ago learned how to take their creedal conformity with an easy conscience and with

proper allowances.

Creeds are not sacrosanct with them.

And
way

Church in our country take the XXXIX Articles of the church, and are working to replace them with pre-reformation theology which they so fondly call catholic. We know that that is but a fond party delusion. There is no "the
catholic theology."

rather amusing to see that their way is just the that the Anglo-Catholics in the Protestant Episcopal
it is

They are laboring

to

make

the creeds

including the Athanasian creed with all its damnatory clauses. They put right belief before vital faith and loyalty to Jesus of the Gospels. This reminds
sacrosanct,

us of the story of the Englishman who was arguing with the American about everlasting punishment. The Ameri-

can ended the argument by exclaiming, "Well, all I can say is that Americans would never put up with it." Americans will not put up with any such type of creed Creeds must be historically interpreted conformity.

and evaluated; reinterpreted in the light of modern learning and modern conceptions, to make them vital Otherwise no modernized enough to command assent.

human
first

intellectual constitution could put

up with

it.

The Conference

created quite a public coramotion at because of the very inaccurate and sensational reports

made

in the daily newspapers, with glaring headlines about heresies at the Conference. It seems that some enemies

were using the press

to create a painful impression,

by

all

140
the

MODER;^riSM IN RELIGION
artifices

unscrupulous partisans. However, the commotion was quite toned down, when the full report of The party at all the papers was soon given to the public. least secured a hearing of its point of view concerning the
of

fundamental Christian doctrines of the incarnation and the divinity of Christ. After the publication of the papers no one was able to assert that either of these were denied. The most that could be said was that they showed an attempt at an historical interpretation and a modern reinterpretation.

22nd granted that the writers of the papers "were animated by a true religious spirit and were anxious to secure a reverent yet
for Sept.
free consideration of one of the basal elements of Christianity," in men's

The Times Literary Supplement

and that the papers "show sympathy with what is minds at the present day, and are important for

all students of

modern Christology."

Bishop Gore, the chief theological protagonist of Modernism, who is aging into the ruts of hard set conservatism, feels greatly alarmed over the issues thus raised. However he has the grace to add these words to his criticism: "I have no doubt that those whose position I have tried to describe above, have so real a devotion to Christ that He has for them the value of God.'' Moreover he admits that they were given cause for over-emphasizing
the humanity of Christ, by the failure of traditionalists to

emphasize it sufficiently. The Bishop of Southwark deprecates any attempt "to discourage free and reverent discussion on the relationship between contemporary thought and the historic faith. A church which ignores contemporary thought rapidly loses those who are educated and fails to influence the civilization of its time. In the workshop as well as in the university the most thoughtful of the younger men and women

MODEEI^ISM IN CHUKCH OF

El^GLAlSTD

141

are sorely perplexed as to how they can reconcile the new There is intellectual outlook with the Christian faith.

thus again a real call for theologians of the church to reinterpret and to re-express its faith in such a way that

without the sacrifice of the faith it may make appeal to the hest thought of our time. Frequent attempts have heen made to do this. ^Lux Mundi^ was a notable example
:

but I think it is a real disadvantage that of late years they should have come mainly from the school of thought which
is

traditionally ^liberal' in its outlook." At least, the papers given at the Conference, have rediscussion.

awakened theological

Here

is

an attempt to

restate or to reinterpret the traditional creeds, so as to make them vital in their devotional effect. The men who

came back from the front and the army chaplains had seen how little traditional Christianity had to offer either the Tommies or their officers, that would comfort and inspire
them.
in the Furnace" gives one of the many utterances on this subject of the doubt and perplexity of

"The Church

many

eager minds on religious questions.

Here

is

an

at-

Their attitude toward the traditionalists is not unlike that of Jesus towards the traditionalists of Judaism. And the attitude of the latter is always that of bitter enmity towards people disturbing the
old order

tempt to meet their needs.

by venturing

to

proclaim a new one.

The

dis-

cussion cannot fail to do good. And who or what is to finally decide ? Is the official church the magisterium, as

Rome? If so, will it accept the enlightenment of the new learning and so become a more vital means of forwarding the Kingdom of the Master on earth? And
it is

in

will not the general religious consciousness have quite a deciding voice in the matter? Has not the day passed, when Bishops in a provincial council can be taken as

142

MODEEXISM IN RELIGION"

constituting the magisterium in these matters of the forms of dogmas ? In this democratic age a further democratizside of the church is surely demanded.^ In writing about modernism in the Church of England, we should not omit some mention of a party of modernists

ing of the

official

in the Anglo-Catholic party itself. of Neo-catholics or Liberal catholics.


little

It is

known

as that

I regret that I have information as to the size and the propaganda of this

Their organ is called The Interpreter. party. They are as thorough going modernists as those of the Churchmen s Union. But they move more on the lines of the
modernists in the church of Rome.

An

article in the

Interpreter for July, 1918, states their position. I need not even summarize this as it is quite like that of the Roman modernist as set forth in the following chapter.
love their church as a spiritual home, redolent of ancestral traditions; winsome in its customs and cult.

They

They avow themselves

to be the followers of F.

D. Maurice

*The January number of The Hibhert Journal comes in time to refer to two articles on the subject. The first article gives a good historical account of the origin (1898), aims and growth of the modernistic movement in The Church of England. The second
by Principal Major, of Ripon Hall, Oxford, the theological training college of the modernistic party. He sharply and clearly refutes the charge brought against the party as being Unitarian. He says that "the modern churchman could not feel at home in an assembly for divine worship from which the worship of Jesus is
article is
definitely excluded." Certainly the central loyalty of these English modernists is that of loyalty to Jesus Christ to Jesus of the Synop-

tic Gospels and to His spirit, outlook and mission. Professor FoakesJackson applies to them a term, used in an opprobrious manner, that He I think may serve to distinguish the party from Unitarianism. that "its disciples want to substitute Jesuanity for Chrissays I believe that where one modern churchman could, with tianity." any show of truth, be called a Unitarian, there are thousands of good orthodox people who could rightly be accused of tri-theism. Moreover, in the former case it would not be the unitarianism of the Unitarians, but that of the worship of Jesus, as one in mind and heart and substance with the Father. Principal Major's object is to explain why modern churchmen are members of the Church of England and why they intend to remain so. I think that he states the case fairly and wins it.

MODEK:t^ISM IN

CHUKCH OF

ENGLA:t^D 143

in his idea of the church as above all things a family, Thej take authority to be a family atmosphere rather

than a paling.
the church.

They like the ethos of the older form of They reckon Dr. Figgis as at heart one with
primary rather than creeds, which are "but

them.

Life

is

a stammering attempt to utter the essentially ineffable apprehension of spiritual reality.'^ They maintain that
their

Catholicism
in a

is

"profoundly democratic."

It

has

crystallized

Catholic Union,
of
St.

new organization called The Liberal The Rev. ^N^. E. Egerton Swan, rector

Martin's-in-the-Fields, is the Chairman of this League. He is known to us as making an innovation in the way of saying the General Confession. Sometimes he

asks the congregation to join together in saying it in In a sermon preached before silence rather than orally.

The Liberal Catholic League on the


he says:

test of

Churchmanship

Church must think out entirely afresh where lies the true center of her religion, and what is the sound test of legitimate membership. She may find them in the outlook and spirit of the Jesus of the Synoptic Gospels or she may find them in a Creed, in a particular
fact is that the
;

"The

hierarchical organization or in a certain type of devotional observance. But she cannot find them in both these at
once.

If the

first is

the thing that matters, then doctrinal

formularies and Church institutions must be quite secondary in importance. They may still be of very high
value, but they are so, only in so far as they help to produce or maintain the outlook and spirit of Jesus. And it
is

a very plain matter of experience that the severest orthodoxy very often goes with a singular lack of these, while a

very high measure of this ^mind of Christ' is often found in the most unorthodox and most anti-ecclesiastical. For this reason we must simply make our choice between the

two standards:

it

has got to be the one or the other.

If

144

MODERNISM IN RELIGION

the heart and essense of Christianity are the outlook and spirit of Jesus, then we must recognize as really of us, all

who show that they possess these and as not really of us, all who fail to do so, however heartily they may repeat
;

formularies or conform to our externals."


does not plead for a new creed but for a large liberty being allowed to individuals in interpreting particular doctrines in the existing creeds. Thus, he says
:

He

"It ought to be left entirely to the individual to adjust


himself, as best he may, to particular doctrines. He ought not to be asked, do you believe this point? do you believe
that

what exact sense do you accept this third ? "I would say that this must apply, too, to candidates for
?

in

Holy Orders.

are undertaking special responsibilities, and will have to ask themselves questions that would not apply to applicants for baptism and confirmation.

They indeed

them to ask themselves such questions. The most that the Church is entitled to demand from them is a general assent to her Creeds, and it would
it is

But

for

be better to ask only for a practical undertaking to use her forms of worship." I cannot speak intelligently of modernism in the Nonconformist Churches in England. It is very widespread and influential, but I know nothing about any organized parties of modernists among them.

MODEEmSM

m CHUKCH OF ENGLA:^D
APPENDIX

145

MODERNISM IN THE CHURCHES IN AMERICA


on
tJiis

cannot yet be written.

It has

ACHAPTEK
believe that

as yet no history, at least since tlie suppression of the Modernist movement in the Roman Catholic

church in this country.

I say suppressed, because I do not Americanisme can be smothered to death.


true, is

Modernism,
It finds free

it is

widely spread in

all

churches.

and but

slightly constrained utterance in

most

and methods are found eveiywhere. But I know of no organized party in any one of them. Commanding names and prominent theological seminaries might be mentioned. In the Episcopal church modernism is found among the High, Low and Broad churchmen. Modernism in this church is the legitimate child of the Broad and the Evangelical parties.
of them.
Its spirit

I think, is for the organization of a party of modernists in all of the churches, with party organs and propaganda. In the Episcopal church it might
call,

The present

has in the Church of England, i.e., that of the Protestant form of the Churchmen s Union, and that of the Liberal Catholic Union. Both would detake the two forms that
it

serve success in their efforts to modernize this church in

the two

main forms or parties now in it. I should certainly welcome the work done by the Anglo-Catholic party. It is needless to add that I should be heart and mind and soul with the work of the other party. Perhaps indeed the work done by the former party might be such as to make its richer heritage very tempting to many of the
other party, a bit poverty stricken in clothing and housing and nutriment.

146

MODEROTSM
call for

m EELIGI0:N'

openness and frankness of utterance and for forming modernist parties in all the churches seems to me to be an imperative one. Let us stand by our several
churches; accept their heritage and organize for ways to make them better servants of the Master in His mission in this twentieth century. Let theological seminaries that
are already suspected of being tainted with the heresy of modernism come out frankly as the promoters of modern-

ism in religion. I take it that it is neither unfair nor unkind to say that The Union Theological Seminary has done this in the Presbyterian church. Organize, and use
proper party methods, save, pray God, those of wily and unscrupulous politicians that are prone to come into use in any party organization. Publish a weekly and a
all

monthly organ

to set forth

and forward the modern view

of Christianity. Let us follow truth through the old into the new, "even though it leads over Niagara." To adopt a saying of Aris-

sed magis arnica, Veritas. Dear friend our church, but dearer friend truth as we see it. In the Episcopal church, the Anglo-Catholic party has sho^vn how much can be accomplished through organizatotle

Amicus

Plato,

tion for the propagation of the medieval view of Christianity. They have been in earnest in their work of

If modernists feel medievalizing a Protestant church. that they have a truer view of the Gospel as to the Person, work and mission of the Master, why should they not be
equally zealous in promulgating the good news to
their generation
?

men

of

Broad churchmen have

failed to be the
reluc-

power that they should have been because of their


tance to organize. If see the Master with

we have a

modem

fresh message if we really eyes; if we believe that we


;

have a winsome message for

many

Gospel-wistful people

of these days, let us take the best possible

way

to spread

MODEENISM
souls to Christ

m CHURCH OF EITGLAXD

14Y

abroad the modernized Gospel message in order to win

and His church.

In speaking of Modernism in America,^ we should not omit the mention of Liberal or Reform Judaism. That is a vigorous organized party in the Jewish church. It has flourished for nearly one hundred years. Though
by the orthodox party, it dwells safely in the ancestral home. The results of modem Biblical and historical criticism
bitterly criticized

are fully accepted in modifying their observance of the Law. The modem world-view leads them to a fresh interpretation of the old forms and dogmas and ceremonies. They are answering the questions how can a man of mod-

culture remain in an ancient institution; how can a modern heir of an old castle esteem it highly while realiz-

em

ing the necessity of a changed estimate of all its parts and also the need of many modern improvements? And the Jewish church has answered negatively the question
not cast these liberals out of the synagogue? l^o schism and no excommunication has occurred in the Jewish
shall

we

church,
heritage.

though containing these two widely

differing

parties, in regard to the interpretation of their

common

"Communicate rather than secede" on the one hand is met with excommunicate not on the other hand. The Jewish Encyclopedia has a very good article on "Reform Judaism." Besides this, there is a scholarly volume on "The Reform Movement in Judaism" by Rev. Dr. David Phillipson and a most interesting volume on "Liberal Judaism" by Claude G. Montefiore from which one may
get full information about this vigorous modernistic party in the Jewish church.

CHAPTER X
MODERNISM IN THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
in the church of

Rome

is

now

making. gored to death by two Papal bulls in 1907, and all doors locked against its renascence by the required anti-modernist oath in 1909. The article on Modernism in the Catholic Encyclopedia gives a temperate account from its standpoint of the overt movement in the Roman Catholic Church. The Papal Encyclical condemned the movement as Modernism. That
though applied opprobriously to a complex of movements, all of which were inspired by
a desire to bring the traditional Christian belief and practice into closer and more vital relation with the intellectual

matter of history, rather MODERlSriSM modernismthan of That was

history in the

was a

felicitous designation,

views and the religious needs of the twentieth century. It was a clearly defined party, virile and outspoken and
aggressive.
Its leaders

were university men.

The new

learning had broadened their required scholastic education. They saw with modem eyes through the prismatic
coloring of other ages. What they saw is well stated in a volume entitled, "The Programme of Modernism," a reply to the Encyclical of

Pius X. That is now published in English, and should be read by those desiring a knowledge of what the modernistic movement in the Roman Catholic church represented.

by a group of Italian modernists, with an introduction by the Rev. A. L. Lillie


It as a joint letter
148

was written

MODEEOTSMK0MA:N" CATHOLIC CHUECH149


of the Church of

England

a high church modernist.

The

protest against the deliberate attempt in the Encyclical to give the public a false and unfavorable representation of modernists, as dangerous foes and promoters

authors

first

of atheism.

Devoted sons of the church, they yet cannot

beg pardon for their position but only set it forth fairly as the Encyclical does not. The church must accept the new learning or lose her power with the present generation. She must change as all living institutions do change.
impossible to impose religious experience on the modern mind in the same forms as were adapted to the
"It
is

utterly

have passed through long periods of anguish, as we have little by little come into sympathy with the culture of our own times."
different

medieval

mind."

"We

the critical method conscientiously to the Bible and church history, and accept its accredited results, as

They apply

fully as do Protestant scholars. They ask why should the church refuse to meet the needs of modem times?

Why

God in history in stop with scholasticism and Trent? the history of the church's development that is their fundamental apologetic. So they repudiate the charge of

made against them in the Encyclical. God in Yes! God in the human soul that id fundahistory. mental with this group of Italian modernists. They are deeply religious men incurably religious. They know
agnosticism

that "religion expresses itself in external garb." This garb is taken from the environment. Each new garb is best

Times suited to nourish the religious life of its times. change and garbs should change with them or become out-

worn and outlandish

clothing.

The divine immanence

urges change and the relegating of former garb to a merely relative position. They wage no war against the cult of
the catholic church.

In the primal immediacy of their religious life in their appeal to conscience and to the right of accepting all the
;

150
trutli of the

MODERNISM IN RELIGION
new

learning, they are practically Protestants. But they can protest only within their church, and that only so long as the official church permits them to do so. And that church no longer permits this. Hence the move-

ment
locuta

is

killed

and

est.

Rome

prophets are enchained. has spoken. What has she said


its

Roma
?

has spoken in two Encyclicals. 1st. The Encyclical Pascendi, abili, July 3rd, 1907: 2nd. Sept. 8th, 1907. 1st. The Decree Lament ahili. This decree begins with

She The Decree Lament-

a lament over the errors of her people who are following "what is new in such a way as to reject the legacy, as it

were, of the

human

race."

The

sixty-five errors of modernists

against which

decree then formulates


it protests.

I mention only a few of them. The full text of both Encyclicals should be read, as they are published in English.

Errors 1-25 deal with the modernist's treatment of the


Bible, all directed against the

Higher Criticism.

It pro-

tests against any Protestant interpretation of the Bible. It insists upon the magisterium of the catholic

Roman

church to define the sense of the Sacred Scriptures, thus leaving only a church-hound Bible. Another error of modernists is their holding dogmas to be merely the interpretation of religious facts by the hu-

mind, thus stating truth relatively to the culture of different ages. Another error is the following: "For the origin of the sacraments we must look to critical historians, rather than to ecclesiastical ones." Error 46 "In the primitive church the conception of the Christian sinner reconciled by the authority of the church did not exist." Error 49 "The Christian supper gradually assuming the nature of a liturgical action, those who were wont to pre:
:

man

side

at the

supper acquired the sacerdotal character."

MODEENISMROMA:^ CATHOLIC CHUECH151


^'The organic constitution of the church is not immutable; but Christian society like human society,

Error 53
is

Error 55 Simon subject to perpetual evolution." Peter never even suspected that the primacy in the church
:

^'

was entrusted to him by Christ.'' Error 56 ^'The Roman church became the head of all the churches, not through
:

the ordinance of divine Providence, but through merely Error 62 ^^The chief articles of political conditions."
:

the Apostolic Symbol (creed) had not for Christians of the first ages, the same sense that they have for the Christians of our time."

Error 64: '^The progress of science

requires a remodelling of the conceptions of Christian doctrine concerning God, creation, revelation, the person of

redemption." The sixty-five errors formulated by the Encyclical, contain more misrepresentation than of truth as to these modernists.

the incarnate

Word and

2nd.
increase
clerical

The Encyclical Pascendi. This also laments the of modernistic poison among the faithful, both
and
lay, as "present in the

very veins and heart of the church." Abusing roundly these modernists it proceeds to give an analysis of modernist teaching. Modernists are agnostics in philosophy and atheistic in both science and history. This is false and a libel on them. "The positive side of their teaching consists in

what they call vital immanence." Modernists teach that dogmas arise from man's thinking upon his religious experience.
hicles.

They

As

are either symbols or instruments or vesuch they must be changed as man's religious

experience changes.

Evolution of dogma

is

one of the
really re-

damnable doctrines of modernists.

Then they

duce religion to the personal experience of the individual, thus "falling into the views of Protestants and pseudomystics."

Again they are blamed with making

beliefs subject to

152

MODERISTISM IN EELIGION"

science or criticism, thus inverting the catholic view of science as only the servant of faith and not its teacher.

Again modernists are blamed for holding that the


has the right to pursue
clesiastical authority.
its

state

own

end, independently of ec-

longer be queen and mistress. What the Syllabus says about this shows the abiding desire and unyielding determination to regain

The church can no

domination of the church over the state. For that she constantly works in wise and in wily ways in all countries. She is an astute politician and state politicians may well beware of ecclesiastical politicians in all democratic countries. The ecclesiastical Trojan horse bearing gifts may contain things to be feared to-day in all
ecclesiastical

countries.

thankful

Roman catholic religion is something to be for, but Roman catholic ecclesiasticism aiming

at autocratic domination is to be fought as an enemy by all good citizens. Bless the catholics for the religious life they nurture in our citizens. Anathematize their efforts at ecclesiastical world power. The mad Kaiser Wilhelm was no greater foe to the freedom of nations than is the

Pope, with his ecclesiastical


terests in this fight for civil

with their vested indomination. They have hated


officers,

what they have stigmatized as Americanisme a forerunner of and soon merging into modernism in the Roman Catholic Church in this country. This Encyclical also condemns the use of the conception of evolution.
syllabus then mistates the principles of criticism and denounces literary and historical

The

modem
them
as

applied to Bible and church. Modernists "as reformers are to be condemned for wishing a reform in philosophy in ecclesiastical seminaries,
relegating scholastic philosophy to the history of obsolete systems." "Regarding worship they say, the number of

external devotions

taken to

and steps must be prevent their further increase." Again they adis

to be reduced

MODEEOTSME0MA:N' CATHOLIC CHUECH153


vise "that the ecclesiastical authority, since it is entirely spiritual, should strip itself of that external pomp which

adorns it in the eyes of the public." Modernists demand that "a share in ecclesiastical government should be given to the lower ranks of the clergy, and even to the laity." "And now with our eyes fixed upon the whole system, no one will be surprised that we should define it as the synthesis of all heresies."

v^

modernism, the syllabus finds it to be "pride and ignorance" Part III of this Encyclical proposes remedies antidotes to the poison of modernism, and inoculation that will make future catholic scholars and students immune. Among the remedies none is more calculated to prevent
to the cause of

As

modernism among the clergy of the future, than the care to isolate her theological students from modern world-culture. Rome has always been an acute psycholShe knows the power of early ogist of the older type. training to give indelible color and to stamp fijxed ideas
any
taint of

prejudgments that will make zealots against new ones. Give her the training of a child for the first ^yq years and the man will remain a catholic. Give her the training of theological students and I am sure that we shall have few
modernists does train
insistently, persistently. rent of her own belief turned into the

among her

clergy in the future.

And how

she
tor-

She keeps the

mind

of the young,

and dams out any counter floods. She is a wonderful pedagogue in leading the young into her own traditional views. !No other church can compare with her in this. She learned her pedagogy from Plato's Republic. The This applies first remedy proposed is one of inoculation. to professors and students "We will and strictly ordain
:

that scholastic philosophy be studies."

made

the basis of sacred

Far

better

would

it

have been for

Roman

theology

if

154

MODERNISM IN RELIGION

she had held to Plato as in earlier centuries, when she anathematized Aristotle. Now she canonizes him. Dante
(Div. Com, Inf, IV. 191) gives the medieval place of honor assigned to him, ^Hl Maestro di colori die sanno''

the Master of those

The church changed from Plato to Aristotle as the master of intellectual men. But she took chiefly the barren part of Aristotle. The Syllor

who know.

bus then passes the steam roller of scholasticism over all professors and directors, who must in turn pass it over their students. In the Encyclical Letter of 1906 we read : "Let not young clergy be permitted to frequent public universities, except for very weighty reasons and with the
greatest precaution on the part of the Bishops. bid the pupils in seminaries to read newspapers
riodicals,

We

for-

and pe-

with the exception of some one periodical of sound principles which the Bishop may judge convenient to be studied by the pupils." In the same Letter we read also the following: "Any mode of dealing with the people to the detriment of priestly dignity, of ecclesiastical duties and discipline, can only be severely condemned." The Syllables, referring to works
of modernists, says "No books or periodicals whatever of this kind are to be permitted to seminarists or university students." Then the steam roller is passed over the edi:

tors of papers and periodicals Then "In the future. Bishops shall not permit congresses of priests, except on very
:

rare occasions."
extirpate errors we have the following: "We decree therefore, that in every diocese a council of this kind, which we are pleased to name 'the Council of Vigilantes,' be in-

To

These are to act secretly and inquisitorially and "take all prudent and prompt and efficastituted without delay."

cious measures."
is

what we

Conclusion: "This, venerable Brethren, have thought to be our duty to write you for

MODEROTSMEOMA:Nr CATHOLIC CHUECH155


the salvation of
astical
all

who

believe."

What

a despotic ecclesi-

machine is here laid bare! We may thank the modernists, if they have done nothing more, for having called out such a statement for the eye of the general public. So far removed is it all from
thought that the public will not even give it a hearing. Perfect submission to such decrees would surely

modem

produce a race of
that of the
Ecclesiastically

men

as isolated

from modern
in Thibet.

culture, as

Grand Lama's people

how

inimical

Rome is a wise pedagogue. We know Rome is to the public schools and colleges

She wants only church schools from the kindergarten up through the university. She wants loyal,
in this country. zealous children; servilely trained children who will be persistently subject to present ecclesiastical authority.

That

first,

and patriotic

citizens

well that just so far as

her autocratically trained members can be patriotic citizens of a democratic country. None can doubt the loyalty and patriotism of our catholic brethren in the great war.

The Knights of Columbus were chivalrous knights of democracy. But then catholics in this country breathe our modern air. The steam roller of the ecclesiastical machine
has not yet done its work. But here comes a question for Protestants to consider: How shall their children get a religious education? Another question is. How can a state afford to neglect the

know that it religious culture of its coming citizens ? is the disposition of the citizens that guarantees the observance of its laws, and that religion is the foremost factor
in creating the loyal disposition. Merely secular education may make "frightful Huns" of the next generation of our citizens. Mere secular culture may turn out clever
rascals

We

must

religious disposition be cultivated to prevent the merely secular and self-

and clever law breakers.

The

156

MODERNISM IN RELIGION

ish spirit from getting tlie upper hand in the lives of citizens. Protestants must either return to the old habit of

home-training of children in religion, supplemented by that of church-training, or insist that religion and ethics must be made an important part of the education given in
the public schools. They think that they do not have time for the former, and they are too weak to demand the
latter.

Shall they then take their children out of the public I think that schools and send them to church schools? the catholics are entirely right in recognizing (1) the mighty force of religion in human life and (2) in recognizing that the religious disposition should be cultivated,
as
it

can best

be, in early life.


it,

Protestants should see to

that in some

way

their

children receive religious instruction and nurture. Either give it to them themselves, or insist that the public schools

help in the work. Let them not l)e frightened by the bugbear cry against sectarian teaching in our public schools: or let them return to the Roman Catholic method of church
schools.

There

is

much

ter way.

But we must

to say about the evils of this latgrant that it is a mighty effective

way.

And

if Protestants believed as strongly as

Roman

catholics

do in religion and its power in life, they would either follow their method or they would put up a strong

fight for the teaching of religion in the public schools.

fact is patent, that the children of Protestants are not getting their due in this matter. It is also a fact,

The

that the state cannot afford to have its citizens either non-

Let Protestants urge their rightreligious or irreligious. ful demand for religious instruction in our public schools. I have forborne to quote the harsh charges and mean

two Encyclicals^ against the modernists. These, taken with the direct charges, which are generally misrepresentations of their views and purposes,
insinuations
in the

made

MODEROTSMEOMAN" CATHOLIC CHURCH 157


give us a most unjust portrait of the catholic modernist. Sabatier says, "There is not in the land of the living, a

He is monster of the type the Holy Father describes. a nightmare creature with the voice of a lamb, the tail of a and fox, the jaw of a wolf, and the wings of a seraph though he is a compound of all errors, you can accuse him of no vice he is neither drunken, nor lewd nor
.

slothful."

But we must not omit

notice of a further

plied by Rome to all of her clergy, in order to of the poison of modernism. Soon after the issuing of the
last Encyclical, there

remedy appurge them


as

was

sent out

what
:

is

known

The

Anti-Modernistic Oath, to be taken by all of her clergy. The opening clause is as follows "I accept and firmly

embrace everything that has been defined by the unerring Magisterium of the church; whatever has been declared and promulgated, especialy those doctrines which are directed against present day errors." The following is a summary of the rest of this oath. Miracles and prophecy

must be accepted as the sure signs of the Christian reThe church of St. Peter must be accepted as the ligion. custodian and teacher of the Bible. The heretical dictum of the evolution of dogmas must be renounced. The oath ends thus "So I promise so I swear." From the psychological standpoint, no better remedies could have been taken to expurgate modernism from the minds of all the members of that church. If the educational system of Germany, under the strong hand of the Kaiser could, in fifty years, change the mind and Gemuth of the German people from being people of culture, in the largest and finest sense of the word, to being a people devoted to the barbarisms of Kultur the culture of physical force we may well fear that Rome may purge out modern thought from the minds of her people and fill them still more with medievalism and undemocratic ideals. By the
:

158

MODERmSM

IN RELIGION
was taken with few
ex-

close of 1910, this stringent oath

ceptions by Rome's priests throughout the world. Many took it with a caveat and with violent protestations against it It is pitiful to read many of their bitter outcries

against what they were compelled to take. Their mother church, on its official side, treated them like a cruel step-

mother.

Roma locuta est, and that rightly from her official standAnd her modernists submitted, and that also point. Let me in justice to both rightly, from their standpoint.
parties elaborate this statement.

Rome spoke rightly from her o'^ti standpoint. The genius of Rome is to rule. As Virgil said of old Rome, so the Roman Catholic Church still says it and believes it The old Roman religion was aristocratic. The to-day.
a.

Christian religion soon became the same in its organizaAs such Rome saved the church tion for government.

from

the anarchy that the Gnostics, Montanists and other wild Christian sectaries would have worked.

from the third to the thirteenth century to preserve and propagate Christianity, ought to be a commonplace fact of history which too many Protestants are prone to forget. Law, order, and authority! These she gave and used in times of need. But authority loves authority even when its work is done, and new times and conditions need modification in form and methods. That Rome has not learned. In modern times and in democratic That being her standpoint, countries, she changes not. we may concede that she was justified in silencing her moddid,
ernists.

What Rome

But Rome spoke wrongly in her violent attacks upon modern Biblical criticism and the historical method upon the new learning in general and upon democracy as against
;

autocracy in a way that should be a warning to all the Protestant churches. Her fight against all these is as futile

MODERJSriSMEOMAN^ CATHOLIC CHUECH

159

as that of Xerxes, Canute or Mrs. Partington against ocean's tides. The critical, the historical and the scientific

methods are the three dynamic forces in the world's intellectual progress. Only at its own peril any Canute Pope or any official church organization can say to them: "thus far and no farther.'' The Poman Modernists, too, were right from their standpoint, in submitting to Pome's decrees. Their standpoint was, that Pome was the true and only church, and that she was their mother. This is a striking note in the attitude of these moderna persecuting church. It is that of love for and loyalty to mother church. They are unfaltering in their devotion. They kiss the
ists to

hand that smites them wrongfully,


him.

as a loyal son will not disown the parent that unkindly and unjustly chastises

They put parental before

filial rights.

CHAPTEK XI
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC AND THE PROTESTANT
CONSCIENCE

Roman

catholic modernists submitted to the

harsh decrees of the ruler Romans. They THESE the mother element ofof the church too much loved
their
to

commit the

sin of schism.

Protestants

may wonder

at

their attitude to a persecuting church. should realize that they had lived, moved, and had their being in a Roman catholic atmosphere very different from and much

We

more pen^asive and

insistent than that of ours.

They had

a mentality and a morality and a religiosity different from ours. The mother apron strings still held them.
It is very difficult for a Romanist to have an appreciative understanding of the religion of Protestants, and equally hard for Protestants to have the same for the
religion of

Roman

catholics.
latter.

give

on

goal unless Protestantism runs entirely out of religion and further into mere intellectualism (orthodoxy or heterodoxy) where
religion perishes; or into societies for ethical culture and social uplift, which, vital as they are, cannot keep their
vitality apart

my own as to the my way to Rome.

I should scarcely dare to I might be accused of being

That could never be

my

from connection with

"Great God. I'd rather be a pagan worn," than to be without some form of embodiment for

real religion. Then suckled in a creed outr

the preservation and propagation of the real and distinctively religioiLS spirit.

Personally, I have always been


160

CATHOLICPEOTE ST ANT COiTSCIENCE


able to
studies

161

make

a synthesis between the results of any critical drive me, as they often have, from what I con-

sidered firm ground

and my adoration of Jesus


Saviour.

as

Lord

and Master, and

so, as

Jesus, lover of

my

soul ?'

Jesus, Saviour of

my

soulP'

I
1.

am

incurably religious and Christian. (a) The ethos, the environing, communal tissue

is

very different for the born and bred Roman catholic from that of the bom and bred Protestant. It is more
distinctively religious for Roman catholics than for Protestants to-day. From cradle to grave the Roman catholic

enveloped in this religious atmosphere pagan as much of it is and nourished and dyed, stamped, prejudiced by
is
it

kept an
There
is

infant,

we may
But
it

say, kept
is all

long, nay, always.

under tutelage too primarily and distinc-

tively religions.

atmosphere, a thinner, a less obvious and persistent, and in our day, a less conscious objective ethos for the Protestant. The truly reless of this religious

ligious family atmosphere; the pious home with its pious customs how rare to-day that is, among us Protestants.

It

thank God, when I was a child in a Presbyterian home. The reReligion was the chief concern. ligious atmosphere was persistent even if a bit too much

was not

so,

and too heavy. Christian home.

How

rare to-day, It need not be so.

we

say, is the pious It ought not to be so.

It cannot be so, if our children are to be Christians rather

than mere worldlings.

There

is also less

the Protestant.

of distinctively religious training for Rome uses the kindergarten method;

She teaches objectively keeps it up too long, we think. through folk-lore, fable, legends, and through pictured religion in cult, and symbolism in dogma. Religion is

162

MODERN^ISM

1:^-

EELIGION
It

more akin

to esthetics tlian to

philosophy or science.

on poetry than prose. Imagination rather than the critical understanding nourishes it. The Protestant is too apt to get the religion of the mere understandHe gets dogma, intellectual schemes or "plans of ing. salvation" or orthodoxy, which has been the bane of Protestantism from its beginning. Rome has all that in her scholasticism, Tyrrell thought that to be the bane of
thrives better

Catholicism.

But Pome keeps


side.

that for
all

its clergy.

It is

her intellectual
sterile

If that were
as is the

she would be as

and moribund

Holy Orthodox church of

the East, or any Protestant church in which orthodoxy is still regnant. Of symbols, of sentiment, of pictured reLiteralism nowise ligion. Protestantism has too little.

nurtures: neither does the spirit without the letter long continue to do so. The spirit in the letter, in the signs and
symbols, in festival and song, that
incarnate.
is

the

way

of the spirit

His holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him." There is more of the spirit of reverence, of devotion; more detachment from things secular,
is

"The Lord

in

including dogmatics, in Roman catholic churches than in many Protestant churches. The people, rich and poor side

by

side, are there to worship.

Back

to Jesus, through

how-

intermediaries, it is always back to, and adoring Jesus. Protestants go to church, or used to, chiefly to hear the sermon too often a rehash of traditional doc-

ever

many

trines or of traditional churchmanship. Or the sermon has turned stigmatized as the chief Protestant Sacrament

into an essay or an ethical discourse. But these can be found, in better form, elsewhere. The fervor of old evangelical

not present in it to appeal to the emotions and to excite the truly religious spirit. The real

preaching

is

presence of Christ is not made to be felt deeply. When the Roman catholic enters his temple, the Real Presence

CATHOLICPEOTE ST A:N'T
is

CO:N'SCIE]SrCE 163

He adores a present present for him on the altar. Christ, in his superstitious way, we say, but he adores. Then the Virgin cult. Well, read F. W. Eobertson's

two sermons for the best Protestant view of the matter the maternal element in the parental idea of God. There is too much of the Jewish Jehovah element in most of our And till the conceptions of God the Father Almighty. femifuller and truer conception of the real humanity nine and masculine and the real divinity of Christ, reachieved through His earthly life of obedience and suffering and mission, till the presence of the real Jesus in heart and mind of Protestants is brought back in modern evangelical form in our churches, they will lack the element of

devotion that the


(b)

The

catholic finds in his Mariolatry. Conscience thus trained.

Roman

Without any

mon

analysis, let us take conscience in the comuse of the term, as the sense of oughtness, obligation,

man's psychical makeup, inherent and persistent in the lowest savage and the most civilized man. Let us grant that it may be bruised and stifled, perverted and distorted in its workings, still
loyalty.

Let us take

it

as a part of

its

voice

is

ever thundering from the inner Sinai, thou

oughtest.

But what does it thunder ? What monologic, decalogic, myrialogic commands does it utter ? What are the specific oughts or whats to which it says, thou must? What are
the contents, the objective side of this subjective sense? It is not an individualist It is not evolved from within.
creation out of nothing. It is the product of one's enman is a man only vironing tissue from the cradle up. as a social animal.

TJnus

homo nullus homo.

The

individual

is

a social

product at birth. He is bom into a family; into a social set; into a country with its ideals and institutions for making him a good citizen. All these receive him, en-

164

MODERNISM IN EELIGION

swathe him, prejudice him, form his pre-judgments. They nurture, perchance poison, his higher life; form the spiritual bath in which the crass lump of flesh and blood must be baptized in order to become a man. No man can escape these pre-judgments. Prejudiced he must be, whether pagan or Jew or Christian, or even atheist. My

membership in any and all of these institutions, prescribe what my ought commands me to do. Of course there is a gradation in the worth and authority
station in life,

my

of these institutions that often brings about a "conflict of duties." These nurturing institutions give the concrete

whats of his inner oughts.^ Among these none are more strenuous in emphasis, than those pre-judgments formed within the holy and tender web of human affections of family and church. The concrete conscience of man is an educated conscience and has a history. Where a mother church assumes most of the education, that church's rules become the highest "what" for the inner ''ought" If Rome, as we are disposed to grant, mothers her children more than do most of the Protestant churches, then her The church will ''whats'' will command stronger loyalty. be esteemed the highest "terrestrial God;" not merely a
specific

human institution, but the extension of the incarnation of God in this world. Duty, we see, runs through a series of duties. The highThat means for the Roman est of these is duty to God.
catholics,

duty to obey the voice of the church. When conflicts of duties arise, duty to the church gets the preeminence that it has already achieved through its motherly
education.

But the Protestant conscience has not been educated to this view of the visible church as the ultimate embodiment of the "what' for his "ought/'

Though never claiming


*

a private conscience as law-

Cf.

my

"Hegel's Ethics," Introduction, pp. 1-53.

CATHOLICPKOTE ST A]^T
giver;

CO:N'SCIE:tTCE 165

though recognizing the weight of private judgment for the mature educated Christian, the Protestant
does acknowledge the authority of the Holy Scriptures and of the communal Christian consciousness.

But he does not recognize even these as giving the ultimate content for his sense of oughtness. He has a vision of the Kingdom of God on earth coming down from heaven, of which all external institutions are meant to be the ministrant servants.
Still nine-tenths of his

educated con-

of the conformist type. But times come when he feels that something is wrong ; that his recognized authoriscience
is

ties are

not doing their best for the advancement of this Kingdom of God. He becomes, conscientiously nine-tenths a non-conformist a reformer. God's service is perfect

freedom, and God's service can best be found in some reformation or transcendence of conventional forms. And this has been the dynamic of all moral and spiritual progress.

It has been the voice of

leading, persuading, ter forms of his service.

God in the soul of men, commanding them into better and betr
between the

To

illustrate the difference

Roman

catholic
:

and the Protestant conscience take the following story In a theological discussion with a friend, old Dr. Lyman
Beecher said
lead
:

"I will follow the truth

if

only

it

does not

over Niagara." "Then," was the reply, "you are no follower of the truth. I will follow it if it does lead me

me

This might be taken as a discussion between a Roman catholic and a Protestant modernist today. "Over Niagara" for the one would mean, "out of the church." In that sense at least, the Protestant would go
over Niagara."
over Niagara, in following truth, and generally the Ro-

manist would not.

Whether

Roman

rightly or not there is a prevalent idea that catholic morality is more lax or flexible than that

of Protestantism.

Rome

distinguishes between venial

and

166

MODEHmSM

IN EELIGIO:Nr

mortal sins. She has her pardons and absolutions. Penances help undo the sins. Her members need not be forever hounded by the terrors of the conscience-stricken. But take the Protestant conscience, the non-conformist, or
puritan, or

New England

conscience and there are few of

The conscience-stricken man is dogged such palliatives. by the furies, as well portrayed in Hawthorne's Scarlet
Letter,

The Protestant knows


giveness, for good.

too little of the doctrine of for-

and no penance can undo his sin or overrule it Moral rigorism rides him to death. Fiat justitia mat coelum. His heaven falls into chaos without recreative power. With Kant he holds that under no conceivable circumstance is
it

ever right to tell a formal lie. Lie and your heavens fall. Take the formal lie of the physician to his patient (now recognized as psychologically the most
curative agent in his materia medica) ; take the formal lie which alone can save a friend from the sword of a mur-

derer

take most of the ^'cases of conscience" and the Pro-

testant conscience can never absolve

him from

the crime of

inward anti-nomianism.
tion in ethics.

Here

at least is a debatable ques-

Then within Roman


cialized

form

catholic ethics there is the speTheir fundaof the ethics of the Jesuits.

mental principle is that "the end justifies the means." This has been a fundamental principle in all rational ethics from Aristotle onward. Virtues as such, are means to
accomplishing the highest end.

When easily pervertible. with the visible church, then every

this conception is too the highest good is identified

But

as preserve or enhance its welfare, is with the Jesuits, the church is made the "terrestrial God," absolute ethics become relative. The Jesuits can, historically speaking, be rightly charged with what, for Protestants is a lie, though it be camouflaged with the cover of

means that helps When, justified.

to

CATHOLICPKOTE ST A:NrT COITSCIENCE

167

expediency. Moreover, their doctrines of "moral probabilism'' leads directly to an easing the conscience, where moral

rigorism logically fails. Upon the whole, then,


catholic conscience is

we must

say that the

Roman

more flexible, less tyrannical, perhaps a bit more humane than that of the Protestant. It is only where it faces relation to his church, that it takes on the inflexibility, the hardness, the inhumane features of the Protestant conscience. The whole subject is worthy of a more extended and a deeper analytic study in the theory
of ethics.

This helps to explain the catholic modernist's remaining in his church where the Protestant conscience would com-

mand him

And, up to the present day, there has been something of the same spirit in Protestant churches that would "put out" those who are unable to say their shibboleths literally. Excommunication and
to get out.

heresy trials have been for much less grave causes than in the church of Eome, and likewise secessions. There

and too little of the organic and home-like idea of the mutual relations between the church and its ministers and members. "Why don't you get out?" That is the way the Protestant conis

too

much

of the civil contract element

science puts his church.

it to

one who has outgrown the literalism of

then, in view of this catholic mother, this catholic mentality, this catholic conscience and their belief in

Can we

Eome
ernists

as the jure divino Church, can

we blame

these

mod-

for submission rather than

schism, or suffer the pain of

commit the sin of excommunication ? With that


felt

upon them, they would have


deracine, homeless outcasts.

themselves to be uprooted, Protestant so persecuted

would have withdrawn into another fold, into a roomier one. Thus Dr. Charles A. Briggs withdrew from the Presbyterian and entered the Episcopal church, as being

168

MODERNISM IN EELIGION
all,

the roomiest one of

besides possessing a richer heritage of past Christian ages, than other Protestant churches. As long as this church remains a Protestant church she

can well afford to smile at the taunt of bitter denominationalism, in stigmatizing her as a "Botany Bay" church. That is a base slander. Some time she may take another from Protestantism to Modernism and bestep forward come the Modernist Episcopal Church, In closing it should be noted that what I may style the Episcopalian conscience cannot be rightly classed with either one of these two others. In the Church of England, "the non-conformist conscience" is rather a term of reproach than of repute. Till recently, both in the universities and in the church, creedal tests have been hard to The clergy of that church have been greatly overbear. burdened with creed subscription. But they learned to give this subscription with an easy conscience. They made allowances of many grains of salt They did not accept them in their literal sense. With a wry face and a twinkle

in the eye, they swallowed them whole, including the (to the most of them) unintelligible Athanasian creed, with
all
its

anathemas.

type of conscience.

They came The same is

to have a
true,

more

flexible
less de-

though in a

gree, of the Episcopalian conscience in this country.

Too often, however, the modem Protestant withdraws from any form of the church. Better Rome than no
church Better Rome than Unitarianism, which would be a sterile home for the trained theologian who would cease to be that in giving up the Nicene Christology ; and a cold home for the devoutly religious soul. We may thank the
!

Unitarians for their work against the religious sterility

England orthodoxy had drifted. We esteem them for their fine culture, and their high ethical
into which

New

idealism.

appreciative of their minimum of Christ-worship. They are a power for righteousness among

We

are

CATHOLICPKOTE ST AISTT

COE"SCIE]SrCE 169

men. And to promote this was the Master^s mission. But Unitarianism does not nourish the distinctively religious life. There have been few Christian mystics in her fold. We remember with gratitude, Channing and Peabody and Martineau and some others in whom we and others have found inspiration for holy living. Yes, there have been some saints among the Unitarians. The author of "Nearer, My God, to Thee" was a Unitarian. But there are thovr
sands of sweet saintly mystics in the Roman catholic Unitarians may be weak on the specifically rechurch.
ligious side, but they are surely strong on the ethical side. With all their culture they have not gotten rid of the old-

fashioned Protestant conscience.

thinking it all out as regards the individual's character and the becoming dignity of humanity, we must say that while the Roman catholic conscience seems to be a bit more humane, the
is

And

Protestant conscience

surely

more divine.

CHAPTEK

XII

FATHEE TYBRELL AND ABBE LOISY


noblest

Roman

of

THE

Father Tyrrell.

He

them all was the Jesuit was the most winsome, pathe-

tic

and tragic figure among the Roman catholic

modernists.

Loisy was the scholar of the movement, erudite, academic, coldly critical. He lacks the glow of the mystic. I find nothing in all his books that wins the heart. He was excommunicated March 4th, 1908, and that rightly, I think. He seems to have been a bit disingenuous and an I opportunist in all his defense of the Roman church. have previously given an extended critical review of his books ^ and need not burden tliis book with further notice of them. I think that his excommunication was right for
the following reason. He explicitly denied any historical worth to the accounts of Christ's resurrection.

The miracle
St.

of the resurrection cannot be thus denied.

Peter's early statement holds: "It that He should be holden of it (death)."


It

was not possible


(Acts
ii.

24.)

was the culmination of His

ethical miracles,

wrought

by the mighty power of a perfect human personality, as that ripened again into "the form of God" which he voluntarily laid aside when He was "made in the likeness of

man"

The power of this personality (Phil. ii. 6, 7). emptied the tomb and made intercourse with His disciples

again possible. His risen body was very different from the *"The Freedom of Authority," pp. 45-156.
170

FATHEK TYREELL
body laid in
tlie

AISTD

ABBE LOISY

171

tomb. His full excarnation had already begun. It continued through the forty days, till He returned to the Father. Most of His recorded miracles are
ethical ones.

They were wrought by His wondrous,

sinless

personality.

We may

well doubt the record of those


this

seeming

to be divorced

from

mere wonders of power.

If we were left with goodness. those of the cursing of the ia.g tree, the demoniacs and swine, and the finding a piece of money in the mouth of

Power does not prove

fish,

we might have

a paltry conception of

Jesus discouraged

was no such miracle worker. His life and teaching were the standing miracle. Through His wondrous personality He wrought works of unusual power for the help of men. We do not believe He wrought the others. Why should belief in them be required in this day when the old proof from miracles has been given up ? Who to-day craves
to-day, with the sense of law, order, unity and purpose in nature could believe them. Loisy first gave up the miracle of Christ's wondrous per-

He He

seeking such signs said that false Christs would arise and perform them.

men

His miracles. and wonders.

such miracles

Who

sonality and so readily denied that of His resurrection. No fact in history is more sure than that of the firm belief of the disciples that they had seen and talked with

This gave them the Gospel of the resurOne may conrection, to preach as glad tidings to men. ceive of the resurrection, in different ways, but cannot deny
the risen Master.
that Christ
to his

made some sort of posthumous manifestations The church was surely built on the belief disciples.

in the historical fact of His resurrection.

Loisy makes the Gospel Narratives of the resurrection to have been the work of the subjective faith of the disciples. Their phantasy painted the Gospel stories about it. They raised Him from the dead and glorified Him. Better, we say, pure philosophical idealism than such subjec-

172

MODERNISM

IN"

EELIGI0:N'

tive fancies of unlettered


faith.

men

as a foundation for a living

Tyrrell was a deeply religious soul. Once he wrote to a friend, "I feel a far deeper fraternity and sympathy with any religious non-conformist (even with a Baptist minis-

than I do with Abbe Loisy." Read George Tyrrell's Letters, posthumously edited, and you will love him. Here
ter)
is

revealed the living

man and

his living thought.

He

thought as he fought and moved forward. Here we catch him in various moods, off guard, but always on duty. Here we find the saving grace of sparkling humor. Here

and depths of his mystical life in Irishman by birth and an Irishman in temperament, volatile and of a quick flash-in-the-pan temper, abounding in apothegms. His editor says: "In his nature was a curious blend of pugnacity and peacefulness: of reasonableness and perversity." He was truly human in his tenderness and sympathy. But what strikes us most forcibly in these letters is his fine spiritual insight, moral acumen, and psychological sagacity. The volume is a treasure; one of the volumes that one wants to keep on his private bookshelf. It abounds in ringing, stinging,
find the heights Christ. He was an

we

Only one will take with allowance sticking expressions. many things that he writes in the abandon of friendly
personal intercourse. He had not the vice of small minds

the fear

of contra-

dicting anything that he had ever said before. He dares To to let himself go freely on the spur of the moment. a friend whose dog had died, he wrote: "Poor Chough.

does he think of the EwigJceitf How hard it is to think of that boisterous affectionateness put out like a

What

farthing dip." He loved nature. "How do I know that flowers don't pray ? I am quite sure that they do." Here he voices Kilmer's feeling in his poem on Trees. As illustrating his sense of humor, take the following
:

"Could you

FATHEK TYKKELL
translate
still

A:NrD

ABBE LOIST

173

Tu

es Peirus,

You're a brick?"

While he was

a Jesuit he wrote, concerning the titles of his books "I suggested the title of The about to be published, Travails of an Irish Oentleman in Search of a Religion,

But my publishers did not see it, and thought my spelling was bad." To a lady friend who wrote to him about some
soul-aches, he replied "I think your soul-ache is a weather ache. And that is the real misery, that our souls are part and parcel of this earth machine."
:

told of a fellow priest's practising his sermon, gestures and all, he says, "The Methodist devil broke loose in me and got hold of tongue. And I said. Good God

When

my

fancy Jesus Christ, or Peter or Paul, or any man not sodden through with artificiality and untruthfulness, mincing before a mirror, pinking and pruning his peacock feathers, practising sighs and grimaces to cover his own hoUowness of heart and lack of faith." "Pulpit Rhetoric," he adds, "is the surest symptom of religious decadence and death." '^Religion has had so little to do with the shaping of the Creed the council of Nice seems to have been just as dis;

reputable a business as that of the Vatican; as purely political in its origin and issue. One is driven back always to the religion of Jesus and away from that about Jesus."

"God
in
?

will not ask us

what

sort of a church

have you lived

have you longed for ? It seems to me that the Roman church (not the Papacy) presents the suggestion, ^the broken arcs' of a more perfect round than any other. A fragment by Phidias does more for sesthetic education than the work of his pigmy followers. There are treasures in every dust heap and perhaps the Roman dust heap is the biggest and richest of all." Tyrrell was a Christian mystic, with a practical turn. "I like to maintain the thesis that no one can love God truly and well, if he be not a mystic. In order to know God, man must be in living touch with God." He goes
sort of a church

But what

174

MODEROTSM IN EELIGIOIT

over the points of the Christian mystics' teaching and thinks them "profoundly right." The life of God, the life
of Christ in the soul of Tyrrell
religion. Till the last,

was his

real personal

he found that mystic life best nurtured in the church of Rome. But within that church he always distinguished between its official hierarchy with its scholastic dogmatics and the religious consciousness of the whole church of the faithful, and rested his hopes largely in the

and unlearned. "The kingdom of God was once at Jerusalem, then at Rome, but now is afloat, seeking a new, but not, perhaps, final embodiment. Meanwhile each may do the best by sticking to his special church and furthering things as best he can."
laity both learned

are fighting over papering their attic, while the basement is in flames." "I often thank God

"Our Bishops
was not

and therefore know experimentally, that the substance and most


that I
catholic,

bom

and bred a Roman

vital truth of religion does not stand or fall with the Roman church. Science will assert its claims as long as

man has

a brain.

Religion will reassert

itself as

long as he

has a heart." "Christ was not vulgar in His poverty and simplicity; in the robes of Ca3sar He would have been vulgar. If Christ, or even Peter, came to earth to govern the church

do you believe for one moment that they would assume the Byzantine pomp of the Vatican, or claim temporal power." "Every day I feel more of a Catholic (not Roman) and more of a Quaker than ever." "The antinomy I wrestle with is that institutionalism or extemalism is at once essential and fatal to religion." "I would sooner
to-day,

see

Catholicism Protestantized than dechristianized

would sooner see the world dechristianized than


out any religion."

to be with-

TATHEK TYEEELL

AOT3

ABBE LOISY

175

Tyrrell held that both schism and excommuiiicatioii were equally unchristian. "I hold every schism to have been a

on the part of those who were driven out and of those who drove them out that the English Church is a schism for which Rome was nine-tenths and England one-tenth
sin
:

responsible."

Against
interests,

official

Rome, the hierarchy with

its

vested

It was Tyrrell's opposition continually grew. He thought ultrathe non-religious side of the church.

montanism doomed.

great anxiety is without a complete rupture, enter into its heritage. Rome cares nothing for religion only for power: and for reShe feels that Modernism ligion as a source of power.

The

"Nothing can save it, thank God. whether the new Catholicism can,

is

merely religious; that it would sacrifice every remnant of her political power to the cause of religion." "If the church is to maintain her monarchic form and

live,

she must interpret that monarchy after the English democratic type not after the Russian autocratic one."
:

I've quoted little about his intellectual struggles and attainments. The latter were the general results of other

modernists of the critico-historical school.


erudite.

He

was not

At Baron Von Hiigel's suggestion, he began the study of German. But he knew nothing directly of the work of the German critical school. I should have quoted more about his distinction between
theology and that of the living and deeply religious life of his church. This latter he ever esteemed to be the true catholicity, only needing certain pruning
the
official

and modemizings, to make it the foremost, almost the final form for the religious life of the present day. Eor the last three years of his life, he was a soul-martyr of official Rome. Love him as a martyr we surely must. Through these years he endured persecutions severe, petty, mean, such as zealous churchmen know how to inflict in

176

MODEROTSM

m EELIGIOlSr
as cruel as
it

modern forms which are morally and spiritually the old form of burning at the stake.

As

a Protestant reads the account of

cries out

he involuntarily Great God! I would not be cuffed and cussed

and shackled by any ecclesiastical officialism as Tyrrell was by Rome, without saying an anathema and a vale to it.

But we

love Tyrrell through it

all,

as

we

love

him through

spiritual struggles, and finally for his answering devotion to Rome, in spite of her persecutions, because he believed her to be The

his doubts

and misgivings and

Church,
Tyrrell was never formally excommunicated and never He was forbidden the sacraments. formally retracted.

He

died without receiving the Viaticum, though a friend, Abbe Bremond gave him the last absolution. He had
previously

who also The Bishop

made his confession to the Prior of Stonington, gave him the sacrament of extreme unction.

of the diocese refused the departed saint catholic funeral services and burial in a catholic cemetery.
catholic burial, unless retraction attested by a priest in writing," was the Bishop's refusal. It is pitiably sad all that his devoted friends tried to do for his remains,
desired.

"No

what they knew he would have

They gave him

such parts as they could of the catholic funeral services and committed his remains to their final resting place in a non-catholic cemetery. Abbe Bremond made the address. "Catholic burial has been refused him by In it he said
:

our

own ecclesiastical authorities, and we comment on this decision, accepting it in

will

make no
he

silence, as

would have told us to do. We wish for nothing that would suggest a schismatic or sectarian attitude, such as he abhorred. But we cannot let him be borne to the grave without prayers. And I, as his old and intimate friend, will say the last catholic prayers over his body, and will
bless the grave {i,e., sprinkle holy

water upon

it)

in the

FATHEK TYKKELL ANB ABBE LOISY


parish cemetery
(i.e.,

177

of the

Church of England) wherein

he

is

to

On

That was on July 21st, 1909. January 1st of the same year, Father Tyrrell had
lie.''

written the following: "If I decline the ministrations of a Roman catholic priest at my death-bed (which he did
not)
it is

rumor

solely because I wish to give no basis for the that I made any sort of retraction of those catholic

principles, which I have defended against the Vatican heresies. If a stone is put over me, let it state that I was a catholic priest, and bear the usual emblemic Chalice and

Host."

Surely tear-compelling obsequies they were over the remains of this devout modem Christian mystic and loyal

member

God bless the saint, of his un-motherly church. for his modernistic work for the revivifying of her motherly instincts. Chalice and the
charity,

The
Host

inscription on the stone bears the and the following words: "Of your

pray for the soul of George Tyrrell, catholic Fortipriest, who died July 15th, 1909, aged 48 years. R. I. P." fied by the rites of the church. Surely a pious pilgrimage to that spot is due from all
modernists of
gathered about his death-bed and his grave, was his devoted friend and admirer Baron Von Hiigel. Upon him rests the manall

churches.

Among

those

who

modern Roman catholic mystics, free from most of their controversial and critical elements. We would fain write at length of this living and inspiring modernist and catholic mystic who is still in the Roman catholic church. But rather let his works be read "The Mystical Element of Religion, as Studied in Saint Catherine of Genoa" and "Eternal Life" and now, in a recent volume of "Essays and Addresses." In him we have religion and Catholicism at their best. With him and countless other mystics nurtured in, and loyal to, the Roman
tle of

the

church

with him as lay Bishop in

whom

there glows the

178

MODERNISM 1^

RELIGIOlSr

motherly instincts of that church, we can well see that she might be a refuge and home for many a Protestant
modernist.
Tyrrell had the one-tenth non-conformist conscience and had it strongly. But he also had a nine-tenths Roman
catholic conscience.

The Protestant part

of his conscience

commanded

Roman
tion,

reformation, but never the destruction of the catholic church. He would endure excommunicasuffered,

which he practically

other than a

member

of

it.

That came out about the time of his death. We wonder what he would have done about it. Take it, we believe, as some of his fellow priests confessedly did, as a matter of mere lip service and thereafter observe external silence. Still we know that he
resolutely refused the conception of the catholic church which identified it as a whole with Rome's Official hier-

with external conformity. taking The Anti-Modernistic Oath.

He He never

and yet refuse to be would submit in silence,


faced the trial of

archy and her scholastic theology. Then we recall his last words: "I am glad that God is to judge me, and not any of his servants." God rest your soul, dear Father Tyrrell, and give you
further and larger service in His kingdom above, where His service is a perfect freedom, such as can be found in

no ministering form of any church here below.

CHAPTER

XIII

CONCLUSION
has passed unscathed through the conflict between science and religion aroused by

CHEISTIAE'ITY teachers have learned much from Darwinism. Its

the enemy. They have also learned to know better what Another form of conflict is the essence of religion is. going on to-day the conflict between history and the

church.

This

is

the result of what

may

be termed the

critico-historical

study of the Bible, the creeds and the church. How did they come about ? How did they grow ? The traditional conception of all of them was a static one. They were created once for all. The new conception is the dynamic one of continuous creation and that not exnihilo.

With

the exception of our Sacred Scriptures this

creative process is still going on. The historical spirit is regnant in all our estimates of creed and church. Moreover, many definite results have been reached by this critico-historical method of studying the Bible, the creeds and the history of Christianity. These results the man of

modem

culture

is

in conscience

bound

to accept.

Can

he make a synthesis between the new learning and the old faith? Or must he deny either the new or the old? The modernist does not wish to be an intellectual suicide, nor a religious matricide. He thinks, he knows, that he need not be either of these. With the historical spirit he accepts the old along with the new and there is no such conflict as that between religion and the history of In all conscience he feels the embodiments of religion.
179

180

MODERI^ISM IN EELIGIOl^
and the from the

bound

to follow the light of the new learning impulse to learn more. Here are some quotations

declarations

made

in the recent

They urge

this intellectual

Lambeth Conference. duty upon us in behalf of the


:

vitality of the

church as ministrant to meeting the religious needs of educated people of the twentieth century "There is much that the fellowship of the church lacks
its

for
is

completeness of

life.

The tendency

to say ^the old

good' is particularly strong in the church. Religious people are apt to feel the goodness of the old so much that

they are slow to prove whether there are yet powers of God on which they have never drawn ... As a result of
this,

men and women form

fellowships that they

may

do outside the church what they ought to have had opportunity to do, and to do better, within it" {Encycl. Letter,
p. 15).

are profoundly conscious that the Holy Spirit teaches Christian people by those age-long precedents which we believe to be the outcome of His guidance. But some-

"We

becomes our duty, faithfully retaining the lessons of the sacred past, in a very special sense to trust ourselves to His inspiration in that present which is our time of opportunity, in order that He may lead us into whatever fresh truth of thought or of action is in accordance with the will of God. For the Holy Spirit is with us and our generation no whit less than He was with our
times
it

elder brethren in Christ in the first days of the Gospel"

{Lambeth Report, p. 95). "It will not do for us merely to repeat time-honored formula'. We have to state, and to state in terms which are real and convincing to the mind to our time, the fundamental truths of the Christian revelation. And the one and only condition on which these truths become convincing
is

that the statement of

them should be enriched by

all

knowledge available to-day.

As has been

said of Origen,

co:^rcLusio]sr
so
it

isi

must always be said of the guardians of tlie Faith: ^His faith was catholic and therefore he welcomed every

kind of knowledge as tributary to its fulness.' We are able wholeheartedly and without shrinking to welcome research, criticism, scientific investigation: we are ready to accept conclusions to the extent and within the limits which scientific reasoning and methods authorize" {Ihid., p.
the churches are seeking to do their duty in this matter and they intend to continue to do it in the face of all the opposition of traditionalism with its
all

118). Modernists in

Moreover they are incurably and fundamentally religious. They feel that they have a Gospel message for those who feel alienated from the church by reason of a conflict between the new learning and the old static forms of the embodiment of Christianity. These quotations from the Lambeth Report represent the lines on which modernists are working. Modernists maintain that historical criticism and scientific research are God's methods of teaching us much in this age. They apply the critico-historical method in their study of Bible, creed and church. They have no thought of renouncing loyalty
obscurantism.
to

any one of them as seen in the*light of twentieth cen-

tury learning.

certain results in their study of these historical authorities in religion, without losing

They reach

their religion.

They know

that there are hosts of edu-

cated religious people who need the Gospel presented acceptably to them as well as to "the common people" and

who

are ready to hear it gladly. They feel that the church will be more ministrant to their spiritual life if she will

baptize into Christ all science and culture. The more we can learn about God's universe, physical and psychical, the more is our idea of God enlarged and our reverence increased.

The conception

of a once-for-all created physical uni-

182
verse
static
is

MODEHmSM
gone.

EST

EELIGION"

So too the conception of a fixed, stereotyped, embodiment of Christianity is bound to go. That
is

myth

often promoted by the ecclesiastical rulers of Christians. know how the Master found that the

We

"rulers of the Jews'' kept like static conception of it.

men

out of the kingdom by a

an epochal period, we must expect epochal changes. Something new should be borne in the bosom of the old. That new, we might say, is the historical apIf this
is

preciation of the old giving birth to the new. Perhaps the chief and most vital new conception mod"^

ernists dwell upon, is that of a restored face of Jesus of the Gospels and His spirit and message and mission. The real

and true humanity of the Master


for them.

is

the fundamental one

that they rise inductively and pragmatically to that of his Divinity. Again as to the Holy Scriptures, they find a book of records of God's word coming to

From

^x men

of
is

many

ages through their experiences in

life.

The

Bible

a life-giving book, an inspiring book, but no longer a book of proof texts. The old creeds are historical monu-

They are to be interpreted in the historical spirit. We must esteem them in their spirit rather than in their As to polity, there is none that is to be accepted letter. The as a matter of more than relatively jiLS divinum. ideal is a democratic form. Here the equally jure divine form of the state has led the way, except at the Reformation. Here the state has as yet scarcely caught up with
ments.
the church.

pragmatic test must be applied. Are the conventional forms and ceremonies ministrant to the devout life? They are not to be changed lightly. The

As

to cult, the

religious spirit is naturally conservative to sacrosanct forms.

and

clings best

But

in all forms of the

embodiment of Christianity the

modernist will himself hold to the spirit rather than to

COJSrCLUSION

183

the letter and endeavor to help others to do the same. Grateful for the letter that helps preserve and promote the

he cannot be its literal slave. Grateful for its needed function, he knows that it is the kernel that contains the life. Proud possessor of an old castle, he will live best as a modernist, the heir of all the Christian ages, while the slave of none. He will go back to Jesus of the Gospels, take him as Lord and Master, and then forward with Jesus in work for His kingdom, primarily on earth. He will learn much how He was Lord and Master to men of
spirit

other ages ; follow the protean Christ that won their hearts' devotion and yet have the fresh vision of His ineffable
face that to-day wins our hearts and our loyalty to

Him

and His Kingdom on

Modernism
churches.

earth.

its

spirit

and

its
it

methods

is

in all the

Rome

has silenced

in her fold.

What

will

the Protestant Church do about the

movement?

example of What will the Protestant Churches of America do ? the traditional and conventional forms are esteemed as the
ne plus ultra of a static institution, by the rulers of ChrisBittians, there will be modern forms of persecution. ter words will be uttered by members of both parties in
their polemical controversies. The regnant spirit of the Master will be dethroned by that of the enemy of that
spirit.

Church of England

will not follow the

The Rome. Where

Can we

not find a better

way

of reconciliation?

Will not the leaders of both parties meet together as Christian brethren, and in the spirit of their common Master have a frank conference on the points of their disagreement? Otherwise it will be an unchristian fight to the finish for a party victory. I deprecate all the evils of such I want to see every form of the church kept a fight. comprehensive of the many dialects in which the Holy
Spirit speaks through many men of variant psychological temperaments and of variant world-views.

184

MODERNISM

IN^

RELIGIOIST

Some
His
see

of us have a medieval interpretation of Christ and church. Some hold the Reformation view. Others
best

under the interpretation that they are in conscience bound to give from their modern world-view. All Let there be a corir are devoted to the common Master. cordat between them. Let them try to dwell together in
it all

Christian fellowship even as they dwell together in social

There is one God and Father of us all; one divine Master and Saviour of us all, and one Holy Spirit ever striving for the unity of us all. In the name and the spirit of the Master let us try to cast

and

political fellowship.

'No party out the devil of mere partisan contention. the whole. No partisan victory can be a catholic one.

is

All this concerns those within the church.


will the church say to the

But what

many

wistful ones outside the

chiirch;

to

the

many

people living under the

modem

world-view, whose conceptions, even in religion, cannot posI can readily imagine a sibly be those of other ages? cultivated modernist, desiring to become a member of the
church, arguing against the obsolete forms in which it presents the eternal protean Christ- He is well versed in the

knowledge of the first-century Jewish conceptions and can appreciate the way the early Christian Jews preached the Gospel to their fellow Jews. St. Matthew, and St. Mark

who

voiced the

way

St.

Peter preached

it,

did not speak

in an obsolete dialect or in a foreign tongue. They showed that Jesus was really the fulfilment of their own ideals.

But

am

not a

Jew and do

Neither am the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews presented Jesus Neither so as to meet the needs of the Hellenistic Jews. am I a Greek, and greatly as I esteem the way the Gospel was presented to the Greeks, highly as I think of the Christological controversies through which the Greek thought fought its way to its ultimatum in the Nicene
a Jew.

not need to be argued with as I a Hellenized Jew. St. Paul and

co:t^CLUsio:tT
creed, I can only with difficulty follow their

iss
of preJSTeither am I

way

senting the Gospel, for I am not a Greek. a Roman and highly as I esteem the work accomplished by a Romanized form of the Gospel, I cannot accept it as

whole worldauthoritative, for I am not a Roman. view is as different from that of the Romans as it was from

My

that of the Greeks or the Jews.

ISTeither is

my

worldIf

view like that of the mighty

men

of Reformation times.

you present the eternal protean Christ in the setting of any of these past world-views and demand my acceptance of Him in the form there given as authoritative and final,
then I do not see

my way

clear to enter the church.

like to see Jesus robed in conceptions of the modern world-view. I should like to go straight back to Jesus of

would

the Gospels and see Him with mine own eyes, as the early Christians did. What can the Church reply to such a

frank statement of a modernist so as to enable him or


rather them, the very many to-day who are like him, to enter the church ? If he believes in progress, he may be

brought to see the various stages of this progress of historical Christianity and to esteem them as stages. If he believes in institutions he may be brought to feel that a modernist should be the heir of all the stages of this progress. But he cannot be brought to feel that he is the Bid him then to accept his slave of any one of them. Christian heritage as does the modern inheritor of an old
castle with its various adaptations to the ages

through
to

But do not forbid him make any modern improvements. Do not demand that
which
it

has stood and grown.

in

theology he house himself in the chambers built in medieval or Reformation times. Enough if he can see how

Jesus was vitally presented in those garbs to


times.

men

of those

acceptance of their forms as final. With the historical spirit he would not be iconoclastic, but rather appreciative of the work of the spirit in
literal

Demand no

186

MODERNISM
modem
Allow

I]^

EELIGI0:N^
to use the

and througli them.


results of all

Then allow him freedom

the old castle.

historical studies of the old church, him to use all the certain results of

modem

Biblical criticism in getting a fresh view of Jesus of the Gospels. He is a truth seeker and a truth lover.

Encourage further studies rather than frown upon him in his efforts to get back to Jesus and see Him with modem eyes. Seeing Him thus he will love and adore Him more. He is asking nothing more than the Jews asked of his early disciples. In some such way, I believe, many who are outside the church and that unwillingly, might be brought into her fold and greatly aid in making her a more living
church because more ministrant to the eternal religious need, as felt by men of modem culture. "Sir we would see Jesus !" That is what they are saying in their hearts. Why cannot they be allowed to see Him as best they can
!

through their

own modem

eyes?

THIS
RETl

BOOK

DUE ON THE LAST DATE STAMPED BELOW


IS

AN INITIAL FINE
This

OF

25

CENTS

Re

WILL BE ASSESSED FOR FAILURE TO RETURN THIS BOOK ON THE DATE DUE. THE PENALTY WILL INCREASE TO 50 CENTS ON THE FOURTH DAY AND TO $1.00 ON THE SEVENTH DAY OVERDUE.

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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY